In her first blog for NASP, Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard takes a quick look back – and signposts the way ahead for social prescribing.

We have a bold ambition. We want to enable people to live the best life they possibly can by supporting them to connect with their community in a meaningful way.

It has been a very busy few months for all of us at NASP, as we have worked hard behind the scenes to establish the organisation and create an exciting delivery programme for 2020/21 that will help achieve this.

We have been overwhelmed by the generous offers of support and partnerships from individuals and organisations, and by the ever-growing enthusiasm for social prescribing in the UK and internationally.

Social Prescribing provides a universal mechanism for connecting people to their community, and it is breaking down silos between statutory bodies, the voluntary and community sector, and commercial organisations. It is creating common goals across sectors – from the arts, heritage and cultural industries, to sports, physical exercise and leisure, from bodies providing legal, housing and relationship advice, to organisations celebrating the natural environment.

We are determined to find ways of accelerating the up-take of social prescribing and increasing the opportunities for existing programmes to thrive and new innovations to emerge.

We can’t achieve this on our own and that is why we will be soon be announcing a series of ways for people and organisations to join us in delivering the social revolution needed.

We have already been developing a programme in partnership with some great people, but we will be widening the conversation over the next few weeks through a series of listening events. We want to hear as many voices as possible so that our programme can be shaped through rich diversity.

We have also been working on establishing the structure for the organisation, sorting out the necessary ‘legal stuff’ that every organisation needs, finding a place to call our home, and considering how we will recruit staff and additional trustees.

So I wanted to take this moment, on behalf of all of us at NASP, to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us so far, everyone who has interacted with us through social media, and by email, and all those who have been so generous with your time to help us on our way. I am sorry if we have not yet had chance to reply or meet with you all, please bear with us, we are working on it.

We know that 2020 is going to be a great year for social prescribing, and look forward to working with you all – please do watch this space for some exciting announcements over the next few weeks as we begin to set out our agenda.

With warmest wishes
Helen