What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is where a health or social care professional seeks to help someone to improve their health, wellbeing or social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be delivered by voluntary sector organisations, the council or a housing association. For example, signposting people who have been diagnosed with dementia to local dementia support groups.

There are various reasons why a person is referred for social prescribing. These are just a few examples:

  • for physical, psychological or psycho-social reasons
  • for general wellbeing
  • to combat social isolation and loneliness
  • to support self-care
  • as part of welfare advice or financial advice, or
  • to support someone to self-manage a pre-existing or long-term condition.

A social prescription or referral is wide-ranging, tailored to the needs of the individual who works with a social prescriber, link worker, community connector or navigator to develop a prescription/referral pathway which is right for them. The prescription, for example, could include access to a befriending scheme, a gardening project, an arts and crafts group, yoga or to a weight-loss programme.

What is the Wales Social Prescribing Research Network?

The Wales Social Prescribing Research Network, also known as WSPRN, sits within the Welsh Government funded Wales School for Social Prescribing Research (WSSPR). WSSPR aims to develop a framework and reporting standards for social prescribing evaluation and build critical evidence for social prescribing in Wales. If you’d like to know more about WSSPR, please see the website, www.wsspr.wales.

The WSPRN meets across Wales (and digitally) to discuss and develop its research priorities. Members include WCVA, many County Voluntary Councils, University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Bangor University, PRIME Centre Wales, Welsh Government, NHS Wales organisations and others.

If you’d like to know more about the network, please contact Sally Rees, WCVA, National Third Sector Health and Social Care Facilitator, on srees@wcva.cymru.

To sign up to be a member of the network and receive updates and more information, please contact Fiona Harris, WCVA, on fharris@wcva.cymru.