This could involve:
- If you’re lonely or isolated, helping you join a befriending group, an art class or a community gardening project, based on what works for you.
- If you’re struggling with finances, connecting you to a service that helps with managing debt or claiming benefits or helping you understand the welfare system so you can navigate information better.
- If you have a health condition like diabetes, helping you take up a form of exercise that works for you.
Link workers come from all walks of life, but tend to be skilled at listening and understanding their communities they support. They usually have more time than a GP to really get to the bottom of what’s happening.
How do I find a Social Prescribing Link Worker?
Most GP surgeries across England can help you access a link worker. In some areas, you can also find out about link workers through a local website or on the phone.
Sometimes, you can also find social prescribing link workers at voluntary or community organisations.
Where do link workers meet people?
Link workers may speak to you on the phone or meet you in person, and they are often able to be flexible to make sure they meet somewhere that’s comfortable for you. In some cases, they will come along with you to groups and activities to introduce you to people and help you settle in.
How long will a link worker work with me?
Link workers will take the time to understand what you are going through and help identify issues that could be affecting your health and wellbeing. They will often meet you several times during your journey, although this will depend on your circumstances.
“If someone is referred to a Social Prescribing Link Worker they can expect an opportunity to sit and talk with someone. And the beauty of being a Link Worker means that we have time to listen.
We can refer you to things like local groups who may do exercise activities, arts and crafts, or music activities. For some people, it’s gardening. For others it’s information and guidance about particular issues that they may be having.
A lady was referred to me this week and she said: ‘I don’t think you can help me, I’m not sure there’s anything that I am going through is appropriate. I don’t really want to waste your time.’ So I said, ‘Do you know what? Try me!’ By the end of the conversation, I was actually able to help to support her and she was like ‘Oh god, wow! Thank you very much!’
So I would say, come and try a social prescriber, you’ll be really pleased with what happens.”
Gay Palmer, Link Worker
“Somebody once described me as a human signpost. And I think that pretty much sums up link working, we build connections in the community.
Social prescribing can make a huge difference to people's lives. There were many people isolated before the pandemic and the pandemic has only gone on to enhance that.
We are a very inventive bunch, the social prescribers. So no matter what problem you present us, we may not be able to solve your problem immediately - but I love nothing better than a challenge.”
Terry, Link Worker
“We take things at your pace. We're not going to expect too much from you. And I'm not expecting you to tell me everything. Just tell me what's the most important thing for you and we'll go from there.
I'd say nerves are completely normal, especially when you’re doing something that's new to you. Just take it in your stride and enjoy the process.”
Alex, Link Worker