£5 million for social prescribing to tackle the impact of COVID-19
The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) has been awarded £5 million in funding to support people to stay connected and maintain their health and wellbeing following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working with partners, including the Arts Council England, Natural England, Money and Pensions Service, NHS Charities Together, Sport England and NHS England, the academy will support a range of local community activities.
The funding will connect people to initiatives in their local communities to improve their mental health and wellbeing in response to the impact of COVID-19, including improved green spaces, singing and physical activities as well as access to tailored debt advice.
The academy is working with organisations to develop projects including:
- football: Newcastle United Foundation ‘Be a Game Changer’ programme and ‘12th Man’ programme which work to support men with mental health issues
- Art by Post: created under lockdown, the Southbank Centre sends free creative activity booklets to people across the UK who are living with dementia and other chronic health conditions
- improved green spaces: link workers refer and connect people to their local wildlife and wider activities including food growing, healthy cooking, wildlife gardening, environmental art and crafts, music workshops, and beekeeping
- singing: English National Opera (ENO) have partnered with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to devise an integrated 6-week pilot programme of singing, breathing and wellbeing aimed at supporting and enhancing the recovery of COVID-19 survivors
- money advice – the Money and Pensions Service and Mental Health UK have created a Money Support Pack for people who need support with their mental health as a result of COVID-19
The partnership work with football clubs will help build on initiatives such as the Newcastle United Foundation ‘Be a Game Changer’ programme, which has already supported over 2,000 men, typically over 40 years old, who traditionally avoid NHS services, may have been impacted by COVID-19 and are most at risk of suicide.
The foundation supports fans to talk about their mental health, get involved in walking football, engage in support groups and learn lifestyle advice through the ‘12th Man’ programme. Social prescribing link workers in GP practices will refer people to these initiatives so that more people can benefit.
The funding will also be used to help people to benefit from green spaces. Working with Natural England, link workers will be able to refer and connect people to their local wildlife and wider activities.
To read the full press release, please click here.