Social Prescribing

Social prescribing was developed in recognition that the majority of factors affecting mental and physical ill health are social and economic – people need friends and a feeling of belonging, a sense of purpose, financial security, a safe home and hope for their future.

Social Prescribing at the Bromley by Bow Centre

The Social Prescribing service at the Bromley by Bow Centre was developed to respond to the high levels of health inequality and deprivation in the local community. Now we have over twenty years’ experience developing and delivering social prescribing, and over five years’ experience delivering training on social prescribing.

Social Prescribing approaches have been central to the BBBC model since the organisation built and opened the first Health Living Centre (delivering primary care) in 1997. In 2014, the BBBC attracted a small amount of CCG funding and is now part of the Tower Hamlets borough wide service, commissioned by Tower Hamlets CCG via the GP Care Group (GPCG CIC). The service received additional funding from Tudor Trust. We have also worked with Macmillan to pioneer a social prescribing approach that works across secondary care, primary care and community services to support people living with and beyond cancer (Link to Macmillan report). This approach is now being scaled up across the UK.

June 2019 – June 2020 in numbers:

1,321 clients were supported by social prescribing link workers

848 proactive calls were made to vulnerable clients during Covid-19 lockdown

9-90 years old was the age range of people supported by social prescribing outreach during lockdown

Development and training

Over the past decade the Bromley by Bow Centre has worked extensively to support the development and growth of social prescribing nationally and internationally. We are founding members of the National Social Prescribing Network and are Social Prescribing Regional Facilitators for London for NHS England.

Our social prescribing schemes have grown and developed substantially over the last decade allowing us to develop significant experience and insight which we share with others. A key element of our training involves practitioner led knowledge sharing of both Social Prescribing as a service and as Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLW) role. The Bromley by Bow Social Prescribing scheme consists of a general practice based social prescribing scheme serving, since 2012, a primary care network (PCN) of six GP practices with 53,000 registered patients.

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Social Prescribing on the BBC

Professor Tanya Byron came to the Bromley by Bow Centre to find out more about social prescribing, how it works and what impact it has on loneliness and mental health.

See the film