About social prescribing

Social prescribing, sometimes known as community referral, is a way of connecting people to free local activities, groups and services which will benefit their health and wellbeing. Health professionals (eg GPs and practice nurses) and local agencies such as charities can refer people to a link worker who will work with them to access local sources of support. One of the main aims of social prescribing is to enable individuals to take greater control of their own health.

Who is social prescribing for?

Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focused on improving mental health and physical wellbeing. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, people with complex needs, people who are socially isolated and those with multiple long-term conditions who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.

Does social prescribing work?

There is a growing body of evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Studies have shown improvements in quality of life , emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, and reduced levels of depression and anxiety.

Which activities does social prescribing cover?

Our social prescribing covers walking and cycling, but more generally social prescribing can cover anything from volunteering, to arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery and healthy eating advice.

What’s happening in Suffolk?

The Suffolk pilot project is focusing on active travel - walking and cycling – mostly in groups although there are activities offered on an individual basis as well, led by fully qualified experts approved by Suffolk County Council. Activities include wellbeing walks for local communities and patients currently in hospital (close to discharge), development and provision of new accessible local walking routes (digital and paper maps), buddy support and walking aids. Cycling activities include Bikeability and simple bike maintenance training and follow-up sessions. Walking aids, bikes, electric bikes and other equipment are available on a limited basis if required. Please contact us if you would like to borrow equipment.

Adults walking

For the latest updates on the free activities available in Ipswich and Lowestoft, see our Facebook page