National Social Prescribing Day – 14th March

National Social Prescribing Day – 14th March

Tash Bright No Comment

StreetGames becomes nationwide social prescriber in local communities

Sports charity funds link workers in four UK cities to tackle social issues among young people

National sports charity StreetGames has funded four link workers to support young people accessing local sources of support in four cities across the UK. The programme will allow young people to have access to free counselling, sport and volunteering opportunities, and will support with literacy, training or employment.

These appointments follow StreetGames being selected as one of 23 new schemes across the country to share in £4.5 million of funding from the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC). The grant means StreetGames will be able to support local partners in Brighton & Hove, Luton, Sheffield and Southampton, to work with vulnerable young people, aged 5-25, helping them to get extra care and support in their local neighbourhood.

StreetGames has partnered with YMCA DownsLink Group in Brighton & Hove, No Limits in Southampton, Sheffield Futures in Sheffield, and Active Luton in Luton, who will provide physical hubs from where the service will be coordinated.

Talking on the announcement, Paul Jarvis-Beesley, Head of Sport and Health at StreetGames, said: “Social prescribing refers to the process of helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare, by connecting them to a range of local, non-clinical, community services which might be run by the council or a local charity. This is something StreetGames is very passionate about. Through the programme, a dedicated link worker will spend time with each young person finding out what they need and make the connection to the menu of local activities and services on offer. This intervention can be crucial in ensuring young people succeed as they grow in to adulthood.”

The programme will provide for over 2,100 young people, who will have 4-6 sessions each with their link worker before being directly referred into local services. Each service will be open to all, but additional resources will be allocated to making it accessible to young people who experience social exclusion through poverty or protected characteristics.

The initiative follows the launch of the Government’s Loneliness Strategy in October, which noted the value of social prescribing. In a recent speech to The King’s Fund about the benefits of social prescribing, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, said he saw social prescribing as “becoming an indispensable tool”, adding, “social prescription is about making better use of what we already have – making the arts and social activities more accessible”.

Cat Pritchard, Brighton & Hove CYP Wellbeing Services Manager, said on the news: “We’re delighted YMCA DownsLink Group is one of the organisations awarded a proportion of this funding. We will be setting up a social prescribing scheme within our Brighton & Hove Children & Young People’s (CYP) Wellbeing Service. This service works with young people aged 4-25, offering a range of innovative mental health interventions and is a local collaboration with YMCA DownsLink Group, Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, Mind in Brighton and Hove and HERE. This funding gives us the opportunity to improve the transition between services for children and young people locally. We are excited about the positive impact this new link worker role could have on the lives of children, young people and families in Brighton and Hove.”

Dr Christa Beesley, a GP for Wellsbourne Healthcare CIC in Brighton and Hove, added: “I am delighted to have the support in social prescribing now being offered in Brighton. The gap between what is needed for young people experiencing mental health difficulties and what is available is huge, and waiting times for specialist therapy are very high. Social prescribing helps us to fill this gap and to get the whole community involved in supporting our children and young people.”

Sports and music have long been associated with supporting people through conditions including diabetes, dementia, loneliness, anxiety and depression. Activities offered under social prescribing are varied, and are already having a great impact on the lives of the UK’s young people. Jenny, a participant of the programme led by Sheffield Futures, said of the initiative: “The social prescribing programme has really opened my eyes to see what is available for me in Sheffield. I’ve been writing music since I was nine and now my Health and Wellbeing Worker has helped me to access studio time through the programme, which is mind-blowing! I recently moved to Sheffield and this service has helped me to gain confidence, it’s helped with my mental health and taught me to be more open-minded. I’ve been looking into song-writing with a community group, and social prescribing has shown me that there are so many opportunities out there.”

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.