What is Social Prescribing?

Social Prescribing (SP) involves supporting patients and residents to improve their health and social welfare by connecting them to local community services run by the local council, health, or voluntary and community organisations.

By having a conversation with an SP, residents can focus on what really matters to them as an individuals and can then be connected to community groups that provide more specific practical and emotional support. This helps those with long-term health conditions, who feel isolated, or who need support with their mental health. People with some complex social needs can also benefit from social prescribing due to the positive effect it can have on their wellbeing.

Who is Social Prescribing for?

The service aims to support and connect local patients/residents who require support that is not medical, to improve their health and wellbeing; examples include:

  • Connecting to cost of living support, including benefit and debt advice, food security, and digital inclusion
  • Assistance with a cold home or energy bills
  • Increased physical activity or healthy eating
  • Joining in with local activities such as art classes, walking or gardening groups
  • Connecting to peer support for people experiencing bereavement or living with long term conditions
  • Connecting to local befriending, volunteering schemes, and local Community Living rooms

Referrals to Social Prescribers are made by health professionals (including GPs, community health services, and social workers) for patients/ residents that are:

  • 18 years old and over.
  • Able to attend a local activity independently
  • Can participate in the activity without a lot of support from the group facilitator

Who provides Social Prescribing in Waltham Forest?

Waltham Forest's SP service was established in 2016 as a telephone only support service.

The Public Health Social Prescribing team, consists of three team members, based in the Council’s Public Health Team: Sharon Hanooman, Public Health Strategist (Social Prescribing), Barbora Ertlova, Partnerships Manager ( Social Prescribing) and Isabelle Logerot, Social Prescriber Link Worker.

In April 2020, nine Social Prescribers were recruited to work in GP surgeries across Waltham Forest.  Each GP surgery is part of one of the seven Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Waltham Forest and every PCN now has one or two Social Prescribers offering support to patients within their own GP practices and surgeries. Currently, there are 2 Senior Social Prescribers/Project Coordinators and 6 Social Prescribers based in GP Primary Care Networks (PCN’s) working as part of the wider service.

For further details, please contact: social.prescribing@walthamforest.gov.uk.