Wandsworth’s life-changing social prescribing service wins national award

Enable Leisure and Culture’s social prescribing programme has been named national Social Prescribing Programme of the Year at the Link Worker Day 2021 Awards.

The service has been enhanced through a range of funding partners including the NHS in Wandsworth, Wandsworth Council, and Macmillan Cancer Support. The service operates in GP practices across the borough alongside specialist link workers specialising in adult social care, mental health, cancer services and young people.  
Social prescribing supports people to take control of their health within their community. The initiative was introduced by NHS England as part of its long-term plan to improve personalised care.

Taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, Enable’s Link Workers offer support with things like managing stress, physical activity, loneliness, finding social groups, learning new skills, and accessing information on employment, benefits, housing and legal advice.

The Link Worker Day 2021 Award recognises a social prescribing programme that has made an outstanding impact. The award judges commented that Enable’s approach fully-integrated social prescribing model has been delivered with excellence.

Programme results show a long-term impact on physical and mental wellbeing with 67% of participants sustaining changes they made for more than 12 months. Some 84% saw improvements to their wellbeing and 60% have improved their quality of life.

Mohan Sekeram, the Clinical Lead for Social Prescribing in Merton and Wandsworth said: “We are delighted that the work of Wandsworth’s social prescribing service has been recognised nationally for improving hundreds of local residents’ wellbeing despite the challenges of the pandemic. The emphasis on reducing health inequalities, together with the strength of community partnerships working alongside local GPs, has been key to our programme’s success.”

With a strong emphasis on reducing social disparities and reaching out to under-represented groups, the programme was recognised for disrupting inequalities and for enhancing integrated care. The range and strength of its partnerships is key to the programme’s success; Macmillan Community Cancer Link Workers provide in-depth support to reduce the social impact of cancer, Active Wellbeing provides support to people with severe mental illness and The Social Prescribing Capacity Fund has supported seven voluntary sector organisations and distributed a total of £27,500, allowing hundreds more people to access vital support.

Programme Director Nick Atkins said: “Reducing social inequality is at the heart of Enable Leisure and Culture’s work with the person at the centre of its approach.

“This recognition from the Link Worker Day Awards is a real boost to everyone who has worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure that our social prescribing programme did not take a step backwards during multiple lockdowns and our specialist support continued to be accessible to local residents.”

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