Bailiwick Social Prescribing, a scheme designed to improve people’s health by linking them with community-based support for non-medical needs, will be extended until the end of 2024 thanks to a Social Investment Fund grant awarded to the Health Improvement Commission.
The grant totalling £152,000 is from SIF’s Major Grants Programme and secures the scheme’s delivery for a further 15 months beyond its current funding. The grant will contribute to the costs of the scheme’s Link Workers, training, marketing and running and will allow more people to access and benefit from its support.
Bailiwick Social Prescribing is an initiative established as part of the Committee for Health and Social Care’s Partnership of Purpose, which sought to transform the way in which healthcare, including prevention and early intervention, is delivered.
Bailiwick Social Prescribing enables health professionals to refer people to sources of support, usually in the community, to improve their health and well-being, instead of, or alongside, traditional medication or treatments. The BSP team of four Link Workers meet people with unmet, non-medical needs such as loneliness, isolation, anxiety, housing needs, financial concerns and changes in circumstance, which can be affecting their health. The Link Workers listen to the clients and find ways to help, often supporting them to attend groups such as art, singing, physical activity or volunteering, helping them to access statutory services and building their confidence. Currently the scheme is a pilot and is gathering evidence for its feasibility and impact.
The scheme was initially funded by the Guernsey Community Foundation for three years. The Foundation recently extended their funding of the project for a fourth year until October 2023. Public Health Services have also provided funding for the project to date.
Link Worker Manager, Trish De Carteret (pictured) is very grateful to be able to continue the team’s work for the next 2 years. They have already seen some promising results: “Since the scheme launched in summer 2021, we have helped nearly 400 people and have had referrals from 95% of doctors who can refer into the scheme. We have seen a real need for the type of support that social prescribing can give, and the difference that it can make to people’s lives. This grant allows us to continue to meet this need. Currently the scheme is a pilot, and this funding means we can complete the time required to examine its initial impact.”
In addition to funding the scheme’s current work, the SIF grant will allow the scheme to expand by growing referral and community engagement pathways and developing new community classes.
Dr Simon Sebire, Chief Executive Officer at the Health Improvement Commission said: “We are very grateful to the Social Investment Fund for their financial support. The grant will allow more people to access social prescribing locally and more evidence to be gathered for the scheme’s feasibility and impact. This is vital to inform long term decisions about the role that social prescribing could play as a part of healthcare in the Bailiwick.’
Sadie Siviter de Paucar, Lead Officer of the Social Investment Fund said: “SIF is pleased to support the development of the social prescribing scheme and by doing so the pilot phase can be evaluated to assess its benefits. We believe that the scheme has already demonstrated its value and look forward to hearing its full impact on community healthcare.”