£1.8m for social prescribing projects

£1.8m is to be distributed to 37 organisations for social prescribing projects, cross-discipline programmes devised to tackle loneliness, improve well-being and help the recovery from Covid-19.

Social prescribing, sometimes called community referral, is a means of enabling health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services, often involving the arts and creativity. 

Among the projects chosen to receive grants of up to £50,000 are OrganicLea in London (pictured) which provides activities in green spaces including gardening, forest bathing, nature conservation, yoga and cycling lessons; Friends of Stretford Public Hall in Manchester to offer activities such as exercise classes, walking groups and Thai boxing; Sunderland Social Prescribing Partnership and Sunderland Culture for a programme of creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families including Singing for Lung Health, a ten week singing programme for people with COPD led by a participatory musician to build confidence; Wonder Women in Peterborough which will support women to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 period. 

The funds are coming from the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England and Historic England, supported by Natural England, NHS England and Improvement, Sport England, the Money and Pensions Service, and NHS Charities Together, and distributed by ACE. The Fund is part of the Thriving Communities Programme. 

The National Academy for Social Prescribing was set up by health Secretary Matt Hancock in October to advance social prescribing through promotion, collaboration and innovation across the arts, health, sports, leisure, and the natural environment.

“There’s growing evidence that taking part in cultural and creative activities, getting enough exercise and connecting with nature can really improve people’s physical and mental health” said ACE’s chief executive, Darren Henley. “As we deal with the challenges of the pandemic this has never been more important. Working with the National Academy for Social Prescribing and other partners – and thanks to National Lottery players – we’re making this investment to support 37 projects and partnerships that aim to help more than 8,000 people across England lead happier, healthier lives.”  


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