Social Prescribing involves helping people to improve and maintain their health and wellbeing by connecting them to non-medical activities and local community services. Spark Somerset is a key partner in developing social prescribing networks in the county.
Our Social Prescribing Coordinator works with GPs and Health Coaches in South Somerset. They are a 'community builder', providing community development support to make existing groups and activities more sustainable and to help new groups and activities start-up where there is a need.
Health & Wellbeing Directories
Spark Somerset also manage the South Somerset and Sedgemoor Health & Wellbeing Directories, essential tools for health practitioners and the public to find social prescribing activities and support in the community and through Health and Social care networks.
Since June 2021, and in partnership with TAKE ART and SOMERSET WILDLIFE TRUST, we have been delivering the Thriving Communities Somerset project to strengthen and expand the range of social prescribing activities available across the county.
Key to the success of this project was the Social Prescribing Roadshow; four district events which took place between October 2021 and January 2022 and brought together over 150 staff and volunteers from 90+ VCSE and statutory organisations to collaborate and share learning.
Through these events, we have been able to create the foundations for future work by tackling the disconnect between services; networks have developed and individual organisations are now having active conversations about Social Prescribing.
We have also commissioned a number of Social Prescribing activities across the county to support people most impacted by Covid-19.
One of which was the Nature Connections Art project with Mind in Somerset’s Wellington Art Group, Somerset Art Works and Somerset Wildlife Trust. This wonderful film showcases how it supported people with a range of long term physical and mental health conditions to enjoy weekly nature-based art sessions including a visit to the Wellington Monument.
Other activities supported by the project include:
- 'Building Raised Beds and Growing Edible Plants' - therapeutic horticulture sessions, delivered by Eco Food Creations (ongoing)
- ‘Thriving Voices’ - singing groups to improve respiratory health, delivered by Bluebird Theatre (ongoing)
- ‘Earn a Bike Plus Digital Filming Skills’ workshops, delivered by On Your Bike and Somerset Film
- ‘Meads and Marshes’ - nature-based art and mindfulness group, delivered by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Somerset Recovery College (ongoing)
- ‘Word/Play’ creative wellbeing sessions for people with respiratory and other long term health conditions, delivered by Take Art
- ‘Postcards for Recovery’ - creative, art and nature-based activity prompts for discharged patients, delivered by artist Caroline Barnes and Yeovil District Hospital
"The fresh air and having something to do each week has really improved my confidence and my anxiety is at an all time low!"
Participant, Building Raised Beds and Growing Edible Plants
This report, researched and produced by registered Health Promotion Practitioner, Victoria Sullivan, provides a synopsis of the Thriving Communities project and captures the experiences of the organisations engaged in this vital work. In addition, it explores the social prescribing landscape in Somerset and the opportunities, challenges, benefits and potential barriers of embedding social prescribing activity in Somerset.
Thriving Communities Somerset is supported by the National Academy for Social Prescribing Thriving Communities Fund.