Friends of Stretford Public Hall (FOSPH) is a community-owned co-operative who run the hall as a multipurpose arts and community venue in the Trafford area in Manchester. They will work alongside St John’s Centre, a charity based in a church hall in Old Trafford, and North Trafford Primary Care Network, to deliver an innovative social prescribing project that will support an area of 48,000 residents who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The pandemic has resulted in vulnerable communities experiencing high levels of anxiety and/or depression; recent bereavement; unpaid caring; and isolation due to shielding for several months and/or lack of support mechanisms. These factors have led to people being fearful of leaving the house, while digital exclusion is also a problem. This project will link with existing digital inclusion projects underway in Trafford, and help them reach over 100 people.
“This money from the Thriving Communities Fund will enable us to work alongside a diverse team of project partners, to deliver a range of activities covering arts and culture, nature, physical activity, and life advice, in an area that has been badly affected by COVID-19. We’re thrilled to receive this funding.” says Kate McGeevor from Friends of Stretford Public Hall.
The partnership will deliver eight different projects, designed to engage those most affected by COVID-19. The new programme of activities supported by Thriving Communities will include: creative activities (art, music, craft); fitness activities – indoor (or online) exercise classes, team sports and outdoor activities (walking, cycling); gardening, food-growing and other eco-therapy sessions; advice and sign-posting (help with benefits and housing, debt etc).
A team of local delivery partners will provide a diverse range of activities, alongside organisations creating a strategic approach to social prescribing. It will help to create a platform for place-based social prescribing to grow within a wider system of provider collaboration, as outlined in NHS England’s recent ‘Integrating Care’ Report.
Throughout the pandemic, FOPSH and St Johns have been working in partnership to lead Trafford’s Community Response in North Trafford. Social Prescribers have also worked to support people who are vulnerable during COVID-19, including those out of work, older people, people with people with learning disabilities, and those with mild anxiety and depression.
Efrosyni Panayiotou, Primary Care Network Manager, North Trafford says “During my time as the Primary Care Network Manager for North Trafford, I have witnessed how closely our link workers have worked with Stretford Public Hall, and how this has benefited our patient population, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their feedback about the services provided has been glowing.”
By bringing together patients and community groups to design community-based activities, and by strengthening the links between partners within Trafford’s health care system, the project will create a framework to support the development of person-centred, place-based commissioning and see social prescribing embedded in healthcare in the region.
Kate McGeevor from Friends of Stretford Public Hall.
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