18/03/2021 Supporting young people in Greenwich through social prescribing

A new partnership between The Her Centre, theatre company Tramshed, and Live Well Greenwich has been formed to develop and enhance the social prescribing offer for young people in the area, which will be boosted by the funding from the Thriving Communities Fund. 

A group of young people sit in the audience at a theatre and hold up a sign that reads 'whatever makes you happy'
Participants at a Tramshed workshop

Stacy Smith from the Her Centre and Jeremy James from¬†Tramshed¬†say¬†‚ÄúWe are delighted to receive this funding which will enable us to¬†engage and¬†energise¬†young people,¬†who have been affected by COVID-19,¬†through creativity and activity.‚Ä̬†

Alongside a broad range of drama and creative activities there will be a woodland Walk and Talk, access to sport, dance and outdoor opportunities, and a range of food-based initiatives including growing projects and cookery classes, and a school holiday meals programme. 

The Her Centre is a grassroots community organisation offering holistic health, welfare and education services to women through Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA), English, IT and parenting classes, legal and welfare advice, group and individual counselling and volunteering opportunities. 

Creativity is hugely influential when it comes to social prescribing. As a leading youth arts organisation and community hub based in the heart of Woolwich, Tramshed runs a general youth arts programme for 200 young people as well as focused programmes for those more vulnerable. They will develop their partnership with OXLEAS CAMHS, who have seen a significant increase in referrals recently, and the Youth Offending Service to deliver early intervention programmes for 11-18 year olds who are below the threshold for existing services. This will include drama-based workshops focused on developing emotional resilience through practicing social skills, building confidence and expressing creativity. This will be supplemented through six-week residencies, and links to the Arts Award programme, through Little Fish Theatre. 

The Her Centre has a strong track record for working with vulnerable communities and in 2020 engaged 679 Greenwich women fleeing abuse. This is a crucial time for them. The ONS reports an 18% increase in domestic violence in 2020 compared to 2018. 46% of their clients are from postcodes severely impacted by COVID-19.  

People who are considered refugees or asylum seekers, or are from communities with a high proportion of people born overseas, have been hit hard by COVID-19. Additionally, data shows that they do not trust statutory services. The project partners are already working hard to address this: 35% of the Her Centre’s self-referral clients are from Africa, compared to statutory referrals of 12%, and the team speak multiple languages. 

New Leaf provide teenagers a safe space to explore healthy relationships and learn how to keep safe from abuse. The Thriving Communities funding will enable them to support 40 at risk boys through group sessions and 40 vulnerable girls via individual support. The work will see strong engagement with social prescribers, brokering referrals across partners and providing longer term positive diversionary activity.  

Live Well Greenwich will provide an additional 70% funding for each social prescriber to help increase referrals to partner services, radically increasing access and creating new pathways to existing networks of support. 

As a result,¬†the young people will have ownership of the changes they have identified and acted on. The aim is to see a change in how young people refer to themselves and others; see an increase in involvement in group activities; growth in collaboration; increased interaction with others and adults; and a confidence in how young people express their thoughts.¬†They will have the opportunity to share their drama,¬†art, film and spoken word creations ‚Äď a celebration of the outcomes and benefits of this social prescribing partnership.¬†¬†

…………………………………………

Stacy Smith from the Her Centre and Jeremy James from Tramshed.

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