Supporting the development of Social Prescribing
The Social Prescribing Regional Learning Coordinator for London
Each region in England has a Regional Learning Coordinator (RLC) who works with the NHS England national team to deliver and develop Social Prescribing in the regions, largely with the focus of supporting Social Prescribing Link Workers through a number of different activities. London’s RLC sits within the Bromley by Bow Centre, and also receives further funding and support from and works closely with, Healthy London Partnerships. The role also sits as part of the social prescribing strategic partnership with Greater London Authority (GLA) and London Plus.
The content of the work, interventions offered and activities undertaken are led by what SPLWs and the wider system want and need. Working to understand how SP services are adapting, what challenges SPLWs are facing and where there are opportunities to support, the RLC role organises relevant activities and feeds back to the NHS and voluntary sector partners where additional guidance and support is needed for SPLWs and the work they do.
What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW)
For context, social prescribing, pioneered by voluntary sector organisations, sees SPLWs working in partnership with GP practices and other referral agencies, employed in non-clinical roles. Their role is to reduce health inequalities by supporting people to unpick complex issues affecting their wellbeing, through a series of meetings with the client (between 6-12 sessions). They connect people to local services, interventions and community groups and help the person to develop skills, friendships and resilience. The term ‘social prescribing link worker’ is used generically. However, locally there are many different names used to describe the link worker role. These include community connector, wellbeing advisor, community navigator, health advisor, depending on local preference. Different terms have emerged as local areas have developed their own local schemes.
London’s Regional Facilitator: Dan
Dan Hopewell is Director of Knowledge and Innovation at the Bromley by Bow Centre, leading the Bromley by Bow Insights team who carry out research and evaluation programmes into our model and our community and support innovation and development of our model and its services. Bromley by Bow Insights shares our learning across the UK and the world though our Knowledge Share and Exchange programme which has attracted over 7,000 participants from over 20 countries in the past five years. Previously Dan was the Centre’s Director of Strategy and prior to that it’s Director of Services, leading its £3.0 million community development and services programme in east London.
Over the past decade Dan has played a leading role in the development and adoption of social prescribing in the UK and abroad and is a founding member of the Social Prescribing Network, a Regional Social Prescribing Regional Facilitator and a member of the GLA’s Social Prescribing Advisory Group.
London’s Regional Learning Coordinator: Lianna
Having worked with the voluntary and social enterprise sector in London for over 16 years across a number of capacity building and development roles, Lianna works at the Bromley by Bow Centre as the Regional Learning Co-ordinator for Social Prescribing. Passionate about the opportunities social prescribing offers to ensure primary care can move toward a preventative model, Lianna sees Social Prescribing as an effective mechanism for addressing health inequalities and building a culture of putting the patient in the driving seat.