The NASP Board had its first full meeting today (Wed 18 December) and signed off the important next steps for the Academy.
Some of the immediate priorities are to secure the future format of the organisation and it was agreed that an application for charitable status would be made in the new year. Having supported the Academy to reach this stage, it was agreed that Jonathan Marron and James Sanderson would step down from their role as directors.
The Board thanked them for their hard work in helping the Academy to get off the ground, and for the momentum which they had helped to generate.
Additional trustees for the Academy will be recruited when charitable status is confirmed.
The objectives of the Academy remain unchanged, and the Board agreed that in the new year there would be a campaign to invite partners, communities and practitioners to share their views of where NASP should focus to achieve the widest possible reach for social prescribing.
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy, said:
“We believe that social prescribing provides answers to some of the major challenges our society is facing, with wide benefits beyond those relating to health.
“Many people in society can support themselves to live active, fulfilling and healthy lives. But for others, the challenges they face can reduce their ability to act. Some people lose the ability to connect with their communities, regardless of how active and vibrant those communities are. Others might have the connections but can lack the confidence and the skills to be able to work out how to make the changes they seek in their lives.
“Imagine how much better things could be, for individuals and society, if we could significantly alter these factors.
“This is where social prescribing link workers come in. Importantly, they give people time, to focus ‘what matters’ to them, and introduce them to community support: enabling them to make friends, build skills and confidence, and overcome some of the practical issues limiting their lives. Social prescribing is not simple a signposting or referral scheme – it is individually tailored comprehensive support.
“Social prescribing is also creating new opportunities for community development and giving rise to the emergence of many local initiatives that bring people together. It can work positively alongside existing community development approaches and multiple health and social care initiatives. It is breaking down traditional silos between statutory services and the voluntary community and social enterprise sectors.
“It is also opening-up the arts, culture, music, and creative sectors to new audiences, enabling people to take up new sports and leisure activities, and increase access to green and open spaces.
“That is what makes this movement and the role of NASP so exciting – diverse partners working across boundaries, harnessing the existing power of individuals and communities to deliver real change, and seeking innovative and creative solutions for society.”