Social prescribing in the South West receives royal recognition
With the emergence of COVID-19, social prescribing link workers at St Austell Healthcare swiftly shifted their focus in partnership with local organisations, helping to redirect teams of trained local volunteers to support elderly and other vulnerable people in the community.
As part of ensuring the continued provision of community-wide health information, advice and activities, St Austell Healthcare relaunched their mobile app, Help at Hand, three days after the UK Government lockdown in late March. With local services shutting their doors, this digital provision ensured that members of the community could access essential support wherever they were.
St Austell is one of five ‘test beds’ rapidly sharing learning and insight on their work in the community through our Institute for Social Prescribing. We launched the Institute in 2019 to bring together researchers, policy makers and social prescribing practitioners to spread innovative practice in social prescribing.
A full tour of the facilities and meetings with social prescribing partners at St Austell Healthcare today was not possible due to social distancing measures in place. However, a small number of the team were able to provide Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall with a number of examples of how social prescribing is an effective part of wider primary care within the St Austell community.
Using their experience over the last few months, St Austell Healthcare and the other four test bed teams within the Institute for Social Prescribing are proactively exchanging their learning. These exchanges are providing essential insight into how community activities integrate within wider health and care systems in the South West, including how they can help tackle health inequalities, and continue to support vulnerable people in the South West during COVID-19.