A Social Prescribing Link Worker Manifesto, believed to be the first of its kind in England, will receive its national launch on the 20th of May as part of the Creativity and Wellbeing Week national festival. Co-created with Link Workers, artist Kate Genever and Arts Derbyshire, as part of a support programme for Link Workers during the Covid 19 lockdowns, the manifesto is designed to provoke an important debate about what the real potential of Social Prescribing could be.
At the time of the Covid 19 outbreak in the UK, Social Prescribing was a relatively new offer from the NHS. It is designed to help the population benefit from non-clinical, social interventions as a way to improve and maintain good health, particularly when medical interventions have no useful effect. Crucially it asks patients ‘what matters to you?’. There have been versions of this in the arts sector, particularly supporting good mental health, for more than 25 years. The NHS investment in Social Prescribing has led to the creation of new Link Worker roles, attached to GP practices, right across England. It is their job to link patients, who are referred to them by their GPs, with social activities and services outside of the NHS, including arts, culture and heritage activities
During the pandemic lockdowns, Link Workers in Derbyshire and throughout the country were left wondering what social prescribing looked like in a time of social isolation. Many Link Workers were given the task of contacting the GP’s most shielded and vulnerable patients and supporting some very frightened and anxious people. Deborah Munt from Arts Derbyshire explained ‘This was all starting to take its toll on Link Workers so Arts Derbyshire set up a special Link Worker support programme called Cultural Prescriptions. This gave Link Workers space to discuss what was important to them and the idea of the manifesto came, as a way to share that with others.
The national launch aims to kick off a nationwide conversation about the potential of Social Prescribing and the role of the Link Workers. It’s intended to provoke and raise as many questions as it answers and, as a headline event at the Creativity and Wellbeing Week festival, it will receive responses from a panel of guests representing the National Association for Social Prescribing, NHS England, The Social Prescribing Network, Arts Council England and Public Health in Derbyshire.
Creativity and Wellbeing Week is a week-long, national festival that encourages everyone to try out arts, culture and health activities whilst also showcasing some of the fantastic projects in the UK. To find out more visit https://creativityandwellbeing.org.uk/
To join us for the Link Worker Manifesto launch book your place by visiting https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/linkworker-manifesto-launch-tickets-325734670167
If you are getting involved on social media this week using the hashtag #LinkWorkerManifesto to join the conversation
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