Work to develop a new county-wide social prescribing service for Northamptonshire is approaching a key milestone – with a formal decision on financial support expected soon.

Social prescribing is a way of helping people to manage their own mental and physical health and wellbeing by referring them to local community-run services like leisure activities, social groups and healthy lifestyle support.

For several months, NHCP has been working to plan a coordinated social prescribing model to ensure such services are widely available for people to access throughout Northamptonshire, with trained social prescribing ‘link workers’ supporting service users through their individual journeys.

NHCP’s business case for a county-wide social prescribing service was unanimously supported by the governing bodies of Northamptonshire’s clinical commissioning groups in the summer.

Now, the project team is awaiting confirmation that the CCGs will provide longer-term outcome payments for the programme, which in turn will unlock agreed financial support for the service from the Government’s Life Chances Fund and a social investment partner.

If confirmed, the new social prescribing service will be included in the Northamptonshire Health, Care and Wellbeing Plan and will move forward from there towards implementation in 2020.

By empowering people to take control of their health and wellbeing, social prescribing helps to prevent ill health and supports people who are already living with mental and/or physical illness to better manage their condition.

As well as benefiting individuals and communities, it helps to relieve pressure on our health and care services by reducing people’s dependence on medical interventions.

The benefits of social prescribing are illustrated in a new video from The King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and care in England, about population health and the role we all play in keeping our communities healthy. Watch The King’s Fund’s video above.

This work responds to the ‘Personalised Care’ and ‘Community Support’ categories of your Big Ideas