The Thriving Communities programme has been a fundamental part of our work in supporting grassroots organisations in the delivery of social prescribing over the last four years. Through our regional teams and partners across the country, we have worked with thousands of people in the voluntary sector, built connections with the health system, provided tailored support and directly funded local activities.
The programme's achievements have included:
The Thriving Communities programme closed in September 2023, in line with our strategy, but we will continue to support social prescribing at a regional and local level. Through engagement with the new Integrated Care Partnerships and their constituent members of healthcare providers, local authorities, VCSE alliances and others, we will provide guidance and support to ensure social prescribing continues to develop and expand. Our new team of Senior Advisors will advocate for the benefits and value of good social prescribing, and help system leaders develop strategy, commission services and evaluate their approaches.
Our National Leads will continue to provide expertise on the natural environment, heritage, arts and culture and physical activity, as well as on social prescribing for older people and for children and young people. In each case, they work closely with large national organisations, local projects and NHS bodies.
We will continue our successful webinar series, focusing on different aspects of social prescribing and showcasing grassroots projects – from funding to supporting men’s mental health to setting up ‘buddying’ schemes.
We have a large and growing bank of resources on our website for use by grassroots organisations. These include our previous webinars, our Green Social Prescribing toolkit, funding advice, a new report on evaluation tools used by voluntary sector organisations to measure success, and a very wide range of case studies from the Thriving Communities programme and beyond.
We have also set up a new innovation network, for local, regional and national organisations looking to explore new opportunities in social prescribing.
Finally, we will build on the legacy of the Thriving Communities Fund through new funding opportunities for social prescribing at ‘grass roots’ level. We are launching the Power of Music Fund in November and are excited to be exploring new ‘shared investment funds’ for social prescribing to support local provision, across the country.