• Demand for social prescribing services is expected to increase following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • New programme will help national voluntary organisations harness innovation to help support people across the country through social prescribing
  • Designed to bring together national organisations to share resources, skills and experience between themselves and local organisations
  • Aims to increase opportunities for people impacted by health inequalities and COVID-19 to access social prescribing activities.

A new programme has been launched to help national voluntary organisations from across multiple sectors particularly financial wellbeing, arts, nature and physical activity to work together alongside local communities to increase the scale and impact of social prescribing activities.

The Accelerating Innovation in social prescribing programme is led by the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Royal Voluntary Service and NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with others.  It will bring together a community of practice of national organisations to support their needs and drive innovation to help maximise their contribution to the growing social prescribing community. This will include developing good connections with local health and care and community groups, harnessing existing skills and assets, and sharing innovative best practice to grow the provision of social prescribing activities.

For many national organisations, supporting people’s wellbeing lies at the heart of their mission – bringing together networks of volunteers, staff and resources to support those most in need in our communities. There is a wealth of untapped potential in these national organisations, which can be harnessed for social prescribing to support communities’ recovery from COVID-19.

Demand for social prescribing services is expected to increase following the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. Many national organisations already have excellent social prescribing offers, however many would like support to help complement and strengthen the work of local community groups by joining together and sharing resources, such as their places, people and services, but they often don’t know how to start. Many need to develop better links to health and care commissioners.

The Programme is designed for voluntary organisations operating at a national level (or have ambitions to do so), who have places, people and services which can be deployed in social prescribing provision. It will include:

  • a community of practice to share and support best practice to increase the availability of social prescribing opportunities across the country
  • advice and training to support organisations develop innovative social prescribing offers
  • accelerator cohorts who will work together to co-develop their ideas, and receive additional 1-2-1 support where needed.

Commenting, James Sanderson, Chief Executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said

“National organisations have told us they have much to offer social prescribing. With their input we’ll be able to engage more people in activities that support their health and wellbeing, particularly amongst communities affected by health inequalities and COVID-19.

“I’m delighted to launch this new programme of work with Royal Voluntary Service. Designed for and by national organisations, this programme will empower them as active members of the social prescribing community. Together with local systems, we can unlock the power of social prescribing activities across the country and help even more people impacted by health inequalities and COVID-19.”

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said

“We welcome this opportunity to work with the National Academy for Social Prescribing and NHS England and NHS Improvement on the Social Prescribing Innovation Accelerator Programme. Many national voluntary organisations have much of what they need to deliver wonderful social prescribing offers. This Programme enables them to learn from each other, put real focus on their innovation and with expert support plug any gaps that are holding them back.”

The Programme will prioritise areas of unmet social prescribing need where national organisations have a role to play but are not yet delivering and support innovative activity where the programme can add most value. Find out more.