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New funding and support programme for London’s Social Prescribing Innovators

  • Healthy London Partnership is launching a new pilot programme to support London’s social prescribing link workers improve delivery of social prescribing services in primary care.
  • Individuals and small groups that apply could receive up to £10,000 in grant funding and six months of dedicated support to tackle a challenge they face in through delivery of a specific social prescribing project.
  • Applications open 22 June 2022 and the deadline to apply is 11:59pm 20 July 2022.

Individuals and small groups working on social prescribing services in London could be eligible for up to £10,000 in grant funding and a six-month coaching and support programme.

Applications for Healthy London Partnership’s new Social Prescribing Innovators Programme open 22 June and there will be four weeks to apply.

Successful applicants, as judged by some of London’s most expert social prescribing professionals, academics, and clinicians, will be supported to deliver a specific project targeting a particular implementation issue, for six months from October 2022.

Dr Jagan John, Clinical Director for Personalised Care in London, and Chair of the North East London Clinical Commissioning Group says the programme will unleash powerful ideas from London’s vibrant social prescribing workforce to help overcome some of the implementation challenges of expanding delivery into London’s primary care networks.

“Social prescribing link workers, when based as part of the multi-disciplinary team in primary care networks, can really tackle the health inequalities many Londoners face. Yet time and again we hear how difficult it is to recruit and retain people with the right skills, set up hubs in the right locations, or link to appropriate services in communities outside the health service. This programme will give talented individuals and teams the opportunity to have the support they need to test out new ideas for making sure we can rollout social prescribing right across London, taking a holistic approach to even more people’s health and wellbeing while easing the pressure on the NHS.”

The results of the pilot programme will be shared in March next year. The innovative solutions developed by those who take part in the programme will be shared with all those interested in mainstreaming social prescribing across London’s primary care services and beyond.

Social prescribing was highlighted as a priority by the Secretary of State for Health and Care Sajid Javed earlier this year, is a key commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan.

To find out more, including details of a workshop to support interested applicants on 7 July 2022, visit our Personalised Care project page.

Current projects

Our Personalised Care Team deliver a number of projects, often developed with a range of stakeholders of the social prescribing system across London, as a result of insights into challenges from those working on the frontline.  All aim to support the long term, sustainable development of Social Prescribing, and embedding of the three personalised care roles in London’s health system.   

Jump to section:

  1. Social Prescribing Innovators Programme – launching 22 June 2022
  2. London Social Prescribing Map
  3. London Social Prescribing Advocates Programme
  4. Community Chests for Social Prescribing
  5. Developing NHS Estates as hubs for the community
  6. Innovation Fund for Social Prescribing Services
  7. Social Welfare Legal Advice and Social Prescribing
  8. Supporting SPLWs and PCNs towards provision of Clinical Supervision

Browse projects

Social Prescribing Innovators Programme – Applications closed 20 July 2022

  • The challenge: Social prescribing services face several challenges. These are often common across geographies and there is potential for innovative solutions to these to be shared and scaled. There is currently not a process to support and empower Social Prescribing Services to innovate against these challenges.
  • The solution: The new Social Prescribing Innovators Programme aims to support Social Prescribing services and individual Social Prescribing Link Workers across London to unblock the challenges they face in delivering social prescribing by testing and sharing innovative ways of working. This is a pilot programme, with funding up to £10k granted to individuals or groups from Social Prescribing services. Successful applicants will also benefit from a 6-month programme of support between Oct 22- Feb 23 to help deliver projects against their specified ‘challenge’.

    Next steps

London Social Prescribing Map

  • The opportunity: There is value in understanding how others are approaching the delivery of social prescribing across London, and crucial for an active network to have a facility to connect with each other.
  • The solution: Healthy London Partnership (HLP) will create, host and manage an online tool, in the form of a map, publishing local service models sharing how social prescribing is being delivered across London, as well as key SP contacts to enable a more active network and organic good practice sharing across London.

London Social Prescribing Advocates Programme   

  • The opportunity:  Social Prescribing is relatively new to most parts of the NHS, and as investment grows year on year, so does the workforce, the system designed to embed and develop SP as well as the maturity of the work.  SPLWs bring with them a rich breadth of skills and experience, and it is crucial there are facilities to ensure they are shaping this investment, development and support to ensure social prescribing is meaningful and thrives, and their insights are valued and heard.   
  • The solution: A community of SPLWs, that meet once a month to develop their skills as advocates of social prescribing and have an opportunity to shape pan London work related to the development and support of social prescribing. 

Community Chests for Social Prescribing 

  • The challenge: Social Prescribing would not be possible without the activities and services the voluntary sector organises and delivers.  As people are referred to these services through social prescribing link works based in the health system, the VCSE sector faces an increase in referrals and complexity of needs of the people they are supporting, but rarely the funding to support this. 
  • The solution: There are some great examples of an NHS fund making grants available to voluntary sector organisations delivering key activities social prescribers can refer to.  These ‘community chests’ can be joint funded with the local authority and may support building the capacity of existing services or developing new activities that provide for unmet needs.  HLP are working with NEL ICS and a number of boroughs to develop a set of case studies platforming successful examples, some coproduced pilot community chests, and a tool kit for areas wanting to develop something similar. 

Developing NHS Estates as hubs for the community 

  • The opportunity: NHS Estates have a number of renovated spaces across the UK, and are looking for ways these spaces can be utilised by the community organisations local to the sites. 
  • The solution: A group of social innovation consultants are working with Broadwater Farm estate in Haringey and the local social prescribing service and community to explore how the space might be better used, developing some case studies of examples this work has succeeding in better connecting NHS buildings and the community, some recommendations for how the space might be better used going forward, and a toolkit for how other projects can engage the community in developing a similar plan. 

Innovation Fund for Social Prescribing Services   

  • The opportunity: Whilst SP can be tailored and targeted to meet local needs, lots of challenges and opportunities that are faced in implementing and embedding an effective service are universal and often true across London. 
  • The solution: A programme to support social prescribing services to mitigate challenges they face by awarding grants of up to £10k to test their own solutions and new ways of working, skills to assess the impact of this innovation and a platform to share those findings with the wider London social prescribing community.    
  • The challenge: With finite investment in social welfare legal advice provision, there is a huge disparity in numbers of people needing support and receiving it.  Many PCNs operating in areas of particular deprivation, see the opportunity to upskill SPLWs in this arena of great value to the patients they are supporting. 
  • The solution:  As part of it’s Recovery Programme, the GLA are funding HLP and Bromley by Bow to deliver social welfare legal advice training for SPLWs across London, a series of events connecting SPLWs to pan London organisations and Robust Safety Net projects (also GLA funded) that can support their work with patients. There will also be funding and support for 5 sites to host a hybrid SWLA/ SPLW role. 

Supporting SPLWs and PCNs towards provision of Clinical Supervision 

  • The challenge: Social prescribing is fairly recent introduction to primary care, and the PCNs managing the services fairly new organisations.  Receiving appropriate supervision for the depth and complexity of the cases they are holding seems to be one of the most consistent challenges.  
  • The solution:  NHSE are funding 4 projects across the capital to develop a new approach to supervision that aims to ensure SPLWs are better connected to each other and to develop key people within the PCN (and local system) that can support the SPLWs to become supervisors.