21 June 2022

Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Network Webinar – June 15th 2022

The Role of Social Prescribing and the VCFSE Sector Post-COVID – Impact, Challenges and Opportunities

View the slides here


On Wednesday 15 June 2022 c60 people attended the latest Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Network’s (HSPN) Webinar ‘The Role of Social Prescribing and the VCFSE Sector Post-COVID – Impact, Challenges, and Opportunities.

After new and existing HSPN members & guests were welcomed, Tim Houghton, Community First’s CEO, started by highlighting the pressures and challenges facing health and social care, the need to streamline access to care and advice, proactive and personalised care, the strength-based approach, the new Integrated Care System (ICS) locally led, tackling health inequalities, funding, digital services and how the Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) can help.

Sara Nicholls, Community Support Manager, Brendoncare Clubs, and Community, described their Care Home and Community Services including the Brendoncare Membership Scheme, the current challenges highlighted included:- Finances, Transport, Volunteers, and Staff. Sara explained the positive impact Brendoncare has on the people they support via a Case Study. Finally, how Brendoncare works together and has a simple referral system and they provide feedback too. Hannah Griffiths, Community Engagement Manager, Independent Arts described their pre-Covid service and also the service they provided during Covid e.g. their online singing sessions. Independent Arts have moved into a new, larger front-facing venue (creative hub) post-Covid with new needs. Facing the future involves reconnecting and adapting, identifying new opportunities/groups, funding is always a challenge post-Covid, they have also reconnected with the Social Prescribers.

Next Debbie Hayter, Service Manager, British Red Cross described the impact of Covid such as a lack of confidence, older people are now making choices re wellbeing v paying bills eg giving up social group activities, poverty, and poor living conditions, canceling essential cleaning, having £7 to last until the end of the month, not affording a carpet after a move, access to hardship grants, the need for volunteers. Needs and the world has changed and the next 6 months are unpredictable. Finally, Marie Adams, Social Prescriber, Westlands Surgery Portchester, described the impact of Covid on the role of a Social Prescriber e.g. welfare calls, shopping & prescription support, they had a ‘holding role’ whilst many vulnerable people awaited their Mental Health support. As services re-opened numbers were restricted and new funding was often not there or does not include running costs. Many patients were too scared to travel and/or re-engage post-Covid and others have mobility/health issues. The role of a Social Prescriber has evolved differently than was initially set- up. Some services and groups can no longer cope with the more complex patients. Referrals to Citizens Advice have been essential regarding income maximisation/debt; foodbank and Community Pantry referrals are also on the increase…

An interested audience added observations/questions via ‘Chat’ after each presentation. Previous Webinars are also available on GVA and Community First’s Social Prescribing webpages. The Hants & IoW Social Prescribing Conference will be on Wednesday 14 September 2022, 9.00am-2.00pm (Hope Church Winchester, The Middlebrook Centre, Middlebrook St, Winchester, SO23 8DQ). Please contact Jackie.hartless@cfirst.org.uk to register if you are not an HSPN member and would like to attend &/or be kept up-to-date.

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