What is Social Prescribing? 

More than 1 in 4 patients see their doctor for purely social problems and welfare advice.

"Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, well-being and social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be run by the council or a local charity.” NHS England

A Social prescribing Extract from the NHS Long Term Plan 
  • Within 5 years 2.5m more people will benefit from Social Prescribing
  • Range of support will diversify
  • Link Workers within Primary Care Networks will develop tailored plans and link their clients to local clubs & societies
  • There are 1000+ trained Link Workers in 2021
  • Aim is for over 900,000 referrals to Social Prescribing schemes


Hampshire and Isle of Wight Social Prescribing Network 

Co-ordinated by Gosport Voluntary Action and Community First, the Hampshire and IoW Social Prescribing Network was established in 2017. There are now 4 free Webinars or meetings per year countywide, as well as interim Social Prescribing updates and newsletters. The Network is funded by Hampshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and has 200 members who deliver, commission, or provide services for or support social prescribing projects countywide.

To register or for more information contact Lin Dudman:- Lin.Dudman@cfirst.org.uk

All HSPN information can be found on their website

On Wednesday 2 March 2022 c40 people attended the latest Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Network’s (HSPN) Social Prescribing Celebration Event. The Webinar presenters came from Community First, NHS Hampshire, Southampton, & IoW CCG, Sovereign Health Partnership, Citizens Advice Portsmouth and Gosport Voluntary Action.

After new and existing HSPN members & guests were welcomed, Angela Gill, Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Network Facilitator reflected upon how the network started and has developed over the past 5 years. Tim Houghton, Community First’s CEO started by highlighting how closely HCC and CCG colleagues have been involved with HSPN’s development. He went on to describe the role of the CVS countywide in supporting Social Prescribing as a bridge - connecting Link Workers and Health Professionals to the CVS, coordinating local activity to maximise capacity to meet local need, while minimising duplication. Also, by influencing strategic discussions, connecting groups, supporting frontline organisations, piloting new initiatives and delivering Social Prescribing activities.

Annie Millard, Transformation Officer, working in SE Hampshire, NHS Hampshire, Southampton & IoW CCG described the CCG’s journey in piloting an NHS Social Prescribers’ Network – the vision in 2019 just as Covid struck. Annie explained the Network’s Goals and Challenges, highlighting the many local and wider successes, the contributory factors were the co-design and co-delivery of a well-received Social Prescribers’ Handbook as a key, collaborative outcome during the past year.

Julie Fisher, Social Prescriber, Sovereign Health Partnership described how she first became involved with Social Prescribing as a Health Connector (Southern Health’s Social Prescribers) Gosport West PCN and then in her current role. Julie explained it can be a lonely role and how important it is to link with the voluntary sector. She also contributed to the co-production of the Social Prescribing Handbook - feeling listened to and valued/appreciated. Julie benefitted from the added-value training currently coordinated by Lili Parsons. As part of the Network, Julie feels able to share and problem solve as well as learn about other things that are going on, to network/form partnerships e.g. Esther Watts (National Academy for Social Prescribing). Julie concluded that the world of Social Prescribing has changed/developed hugely over the past two years.

Attendees then went into ‘Breakout Rooms’ – involving brief introductions, followed by Social Prescribing related discussions looking the impact/difference organisations make, followed by feedback for the Network re what support is needed going forward? After each group reported back, their feedback was noted and will be reviewed by the HSPN Steering Group.

Next Rob Thompson, Generalist Advice Manager / Home and Well Lead Citizens Advice Portsmouth described two Case Studies which illustrated the power of joined-up working/Social Prescribing and the positive outcomes for these clients. The first client was referred (with their carer) from a Social Prescriber (the client had learning difficulties and had recently had a bereavement too). The need was around their welfare benefits – they were also advised re challenging PIP. The Home and Well


Adviser helped them to go on to the Priority Services Register, checked that they were on the correct tariff, obtaining water and warm home discounts. They also made a referral into SGN for an Home Safety visit eg for CO alarms. Carer support was also identified from Andover Mind. Another client approached CA Portsmouth directly after having a Stroke. There was engagement with Job Centre Plus and they were briefed about their situation. To add value and thanks to an onward referral to Social Prescribers, the client also now attends a bi-monthly Zoom meeting, a gym class for those recovering from a Stroke and is being supported by Community Connectors.

Lucy Coates Community Spirit - Supported Volunteering Coordinator Gosport Voluntary Action explained her role and the ‘Community Spirit’ group of c19 adults, are aged 25+, live in Gosport, are unable to take part in paid work; most have been referred by Social Prescribers. All have mental health or learning difficulties, live alone; many are socially isolated and digitally isolated – only two have Smart phones / Internet access. Most receive financial support. One person attended GVA’s Preparing to Volunteer, was referred by his Southern Health Mental Health Worker. He was unable to speak initially, slowly over time as others shared, he started to engage, redundancy from his full-time role had resulted in a catastrophic MH breakdown needing medication. Three months on, due to Community Spirit’s supportive environment, he is now supporting cognitively less able members, he’s joined a gardening group, he’s been referred to CA Gosport’s Pathways employability support project – he’s making excellent progress from being very reluctant to joining Community Spirit.

presentation from the March Network

Link to the recording on the March Webinar

Presentation from the December network

Page list

  • Social Prescribing

    Sovereign Health Network (Highlands, Jubilee & Whitely) share their Social Prescribing experience