What is Thriving Communities 

Thriving Communities is a National Support Programme for voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups working alongside existing local infrastructure agencies and Social Prescribing Link Workers. By acting as ‘community connectors’, our Thriving Communities team aims to provide support for the propagation of social prescribing across systems, the development and sustainability of local good practise at a regional level and create learning opportunities allowing grassroots organisations to grow and thrive. We offer a platform for our region to be bold, to constructively challenge the status quo and start conversations which tackle real world issues affecting communities in the wake of unprecedented turbulence and pressures in global and domestic affairs. We recognise that social prescribing has the ability to create fairer, better connected communities for people to belong, to provide more appropriate and cost effective support than some statutory interventions and address health inequity.

Through our regional Learning Together programme, we’ve supported over 150 participants to date and continue to deliver a series of monthly regional webinars, events and e-news updates packed with useful information covering the following subjects and more:

  • Social Prescribing Development
  • Arts, Heritage Creativity and Culture activity
  • Sports and Physical Activity
  • Nature & Connecting with the Natural Environment
  • Financial Wellbeing
  • Community Advice
  • Funding

The Thriving Communities East of England Team are hosted by Hertfordshire based CVS, Volunteer Centre and Volunteer Delivery organisation – Communities 1st.

Introduction to the Regional Team

From networking opportunities, to webinars, to training sessions, to links to funding opportunities across the East of England, Thriving Communities is working together to create partnerships across the arts, health, sports, leisure, and the natural environment at national and local level.

General enquiries

Meet the Team

Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins

East of England Regional Lead

Thriving Communities Programme 

Tara Mataba

Thriving Communities Partnerships & Inclusion Co-ordinator  

What is Social Prescribing 

People’s health and wellbeing are determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors. Around 1 in 5 GP appointments are non medical related which suggests that we cannot rely only on medication or doctors to fix these problems. For example, people may visit their GP because they may feeling isolated, lonely or they may be suffering from stress at work. 

Social prescribing is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Social prescribing connects people up to practical and emotional community support through the use of Social Prescribing Link workers (SPLW) and local infrastructure agencies. 

Examples of Social prescribing can include:  

  • Volunteering  
  • Arts Activities  
  • Group Learning  
  • Gardening  
  • Befriending  
  • Cookery  
  • Healthy Eating Advice  
  • Sports 

Social prescribing can be recognised by a number of sub-catergories such as Green Social Prescribing and Blue Social Prescribing.  

Green Social Prescribing focuses on all nature-based interventions and activities, such as walking for health, community gardenings, and much more. These activities can take place in forests, parks and gardens.  

Blue Social Prescribing is any activities and interventions with water, including activities like fishing, boating, and much more taking places in lakes, rivers, creeks and more.  

What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker?

Social prescribing link workers give people time by focusing on a Universal Personalised Care approach to health and wellbeing. This allows people to gain more control over their own health and a manage their needs in a way that suits them. A social prescribing link worker will listen to the person, create a shared plan and connect them up to community based support services that can help them practically and emotionally.

More resources for social prescribing link workers can be found here

The Learning Together Programme 

The Learning Together Programme delivers development opportunities for anyone working with voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations supporting their communities needs through social prescribing interventions.

If you are interested in developing community skills, building your social prescribing network and accessing our facilitated learning sessions, please join us.  Our current programme of work will run until the end of March 2023.

Please click here to sign up today.

Regional Events

We continue to run a series of monthly, regional webinars as part of our Learning Together Programme such as the one below showcasing The Landscape of Social Prescribing in the East of England.

Other webinar topics have included:

  • Tackling Health Inequalities & Celebrating Diveristy
  • Dementia Action
  • Social Prescribing through Arts, Culture and Heritage

To access all of our Regional webinars, please visit our website.

National Events 

The National Thriving Communities webinar series aims to explore motivations for and barriers to social prescribing and how we can effectively increase system-wide engagment to improve health and wellbeing.

If you would like to access recordings of previous National Webinars, please click here.

Further useful links for Social Prescribing development

We’ve provided some links for those of you who would like some further links on Social Prescribing. Please click the links below for more information.  

East of England Thriving Communities Resource Bank

NASP Links  

NAPS’s Thriving Communities  

What is Social Prescribing? Kamal Ellis-Hyman Spoken Word Piece  

A Social Revolution in wellbeing Strategic Plan 2020-23   

Thriving Communities Idea Hub  


NHS Website Links 

A five-year framework for GP contract reform to implement The NHS Long Term Plan  

Find NHS Learning Network Links at the bottom of the page  

Case Study: Social Prescribing linked me to Art which saved my life  

Case Study: Social Prescribing the Power of Time and Connections  

Social prescribing: a regional facilitator’s view on primary care and the voluntary sector, NHS England and NHS Improvement   

Supporting link workers in primary care networks   

Strategy for Addressing Health Inequalities: Core20Plus5 


Music for Dementia  

Mental Health and Money Toolkit  

Money Helper  


Social Prescribing Referral/ Resources Websites in East of England  

Suffolk Connected Communities   

Essex Connect  

Herts Help  

South Norfolk Help Hub  

Your Wellbeing Bedfordshire  


 Ted Talks 

Social Prescribing and the Power of Change | Jennifer Neff | TEDxStormontSalon  

The Social Value of Social Prescribing | Chris Dayson | TEDxStPeterPort  

The power of Social Prescription | Dr. Karin Kausky | TEDxWhistler  

Prescribing Nature for Health | Nooshin Razani | TEDxNashville  


Further Reading 

Just what the Doctor ordered: Social Prescribing – a Guide for Local Authorities – Case Studies  

Physical activity: applying All Our Health  

Review of evidence on the outcomes of Sport and Physical Activity a rapid evidence Review, May 2017  

Univeristy of Westminster, Making sense of social prescribing (2017) 

What does social prescribing look like? Mapping meaningful outcomes 

Dance to Health: Evaluation of the Pilot Programme 

Good practice for social prescribing for mental health: the role of nature-based interventions 


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