Manchester-based comedian Justin Moorhouse has always been passionate about the health of his community, having himself volunteered to help neighbours during the pandemic (listen to Justin on 'Podcast for Prescription')
Interested in learning more about how social prescribing works, he joined Dr Radha Modgil on a visit to one of the thousands of projects and groups across the country being ‘prescribed’ by link workers.
String of Hearts, who received funding from NASP’s pilot funding programme ‘Thriving Communities’, offers free, informal singing sessions to people who are in need of community and connection. The kind of connection music has been proven to provide.
But what is social prescribing, and how do music projects like String of Hearts fit in?
Well, we all know that many things that affect our health can’t be treated by doctors or medicine alone.
You could be struggling with loneliness, debt, or stress due to financial pressures or poor housing. Social prescribing connects people to non-medical support to address these issues and other unmet needs.
Let’s take two of the String of Hearts participants - Evril and Una - as examples. Both women are music lovers who, in recent years, had found themselves feeling lonely and isolated. Having been referred to link workers, by a doctor, they were given the time to properly explain their circumstances, and what they felt might be making them feel so low.
That is how they both discovered ‘String of Hearts’, a fortnightly session that has quickly become an important part of their lives.
"I find singing is uplifting. This group is all roughly from the same era, so we all know the same songs," said Una, explaining to Justin about how the group helps her.
Evril added: "When it’s time to go, I’m so sad because I don’t want it to be finished. I want to be here, singing away until the night."
We all have times in our lives where we might need to connect with people. And at NASP we are proud to champion the impact of projects like String of Hearts.
As Justin observed after his visit, "I think the most exciting thing about social prescribing is that it’s the one area of your health care, where you can help write the prescription."
Think you or someone in your life might benefit from social prescribing? Click here. Or do you work in healthcare and are interested in hearing more about link workers and the part they play in social prescribing? Click here.