Over the last 18 months, the Accelerating Innovation in Social Prescribing programme has achieved a huge amount, helping national voluntary organisations work together alongside local communities to increase the scale and impact of social prescribing activities. The programme’s achievements include:
- The Community of Practice has 135 members from charities, social enterprises, umbrella bodies and others. Many members are formed of a handful of staff and volunteers who support people with unique needs, while others are large national charities that support many thousands of people across the country.
- The programme hosted 16 webinars covering topics such as financial wellbeing, health inequalities, evaluation and evidence, as well as other informal catch-ups.
- Deep-dive working groups which cut across sectors and organisations, where members of the Community of Practice worked together with others in the social prescribing movement to share learning and make recommendations for developing new initiatives. This led to the publication of three resources co-produced with members and sector partners:
- 7 Steps to Wellbeing Through Volunteering, co-produced with 100 people (Community of Practice members, volunteer managers, volunteers, link workers, and sector experts)
- How to get started with Co-production in Social Prescribing, in partnership with the Co-Production Collective and the NASP Co-production group of over 30 people from large and small charities, link workers, commissioners, academics, and people who have experienced social prescribing
- Innovations in social prescribing: the role of social housing, in partnership with HACT and Housing LIN, and members of the Community of Practice
- Social Prescribing Skillshare: a pilot programme to support organisations to increase their skills and confidence to enable them to provide quality social prescribing activities
With the partnership between the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Royal Voluntary Service and NHS England coming to an end, the Accelerating Innovation Programme will close in its current form. NASP will continue some of the work of the programme, including Skillshare and the webinar programme, and continue to work on social prescribing innovation with members of the community of practice.
National organisations have much to offer social prescribing and, together with our partners RVS and NHS England, we have taken important steps to build their awareness of the potential of social prescribing and supported them to develop high quality social prescribing activities through new connections and collaborations. We’re very grateful to our programme partners for their contribution over the last 18 months and looking forward to evolving the programme’s offer into this next phase.
Royal Voluntary Service is proud to have worked alongside NASP and NHS England to bring together the incredible capabilities of national voluntary sector organisations to focus on social prescribing and innovations in this space. We have seen great appetite to work collegiately, to share best practice and push forward new ideas. I am delighted – as we end this chapter – that there is a vibrant community of practice now established which will continue to fuel progress. Ultimately this is about generating better outcomes for people who need support with their health and wellbeing and who may benefit from non-clinical approaches. It’s clear that by tapping into the resources and talents of our whole voluntary sector, we have a huge amount to offer the health and care system – the opportunities are almost limitless.