The National Academy for Social Prescribing has a simple ambition: we want people to live the best life they can.

A life that is defined by them. Not one that is limited by the place in which they live, who they are, or the resources available to them.

Social prescribing means supporting people, via social prescribing link workers, to make community connections and discover new opportunities, building on individual strengths and preferences, to improve health and wellbeing. We want social prescribing to thrive – a vibrant, innovative and ambitious movement, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people and organisations with a shared commitment to transforming lives.

1. Making some noise

To raise the profile of social prescribing we will:
• create a dynamic national network of ‘social prescribing partners’
• deliver an innovative multi-channel campaign
• support a programme of regional showcase events,
demonstrating the power of arts, culture, sports, leisure
and nature in connecting people for wellbeing.

2. Finding resources

To develop innovative funding partnerships we will:
• work with national, regional and local leaders across sectors to develop new partnerships
• invest directly in social prescribing by launching a £1m development fund to support the scaling up of community-based programmes
• explore establishing regional funds to facilitate greater flexibility for local organisations engaged in social prescribing.

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3. Building relationships across sectors

Social prescribing relies on strong, mature relationships across multiple sectors. We will:
• influence key partners at all levels, including government and arm’s-length bodies to build support for social prescribing
• develop a network of high-profile ambassadors who can advocate for social prescribing
• support local areas to develop their social prescribing networks.

4. Shaping and sharing the evidence base

To build a consensus about what we know and don’t know, improve accessibility and visibility of evidence, we will:
• develop an academic partners collaborative
• work with partners to create easy-to-use, credible evidence summaries
• work with partners to identify evidence gaps and develop new research opportunities.

5. Spreading what works

To promote learning on social prescribing and share good practice, we will:
• promote success stories, and build a strong narrative
• develop our website as a library of open access resources
• develop a national and international collaborative to share learning.

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Learning Together

As part of Thriving Communities, the regional team delivers the Learning Together Programme in the North West.

This regional programme is open to voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations across the North West region interested or involved in social prescribing.

This free programme aims to teach about social prescribing and the VCSE eco-system that enables social prescribing to be successful.

The programme offers:

  • free regional support offer for community groups and organisations
  • enables leaders to learn from each other through action learning sets and coaching
  • connects groups across arts, nature, physical exercise, financial wellbeing, health and care sectors to create new partnerships
  • limited places
  • access to the Thriving Communities Network, including the online network, ideas bank and webinars

We have so far engaged 150+ organisations and continue to expand our network of learners on this programme.


We are looking to recruit for our third cohort over the 2022 summer months – please email Anna Cooper to register your interest and be first to hear about the next North West Learning Together Programme.

Meet your North West Thriving Communities Team!

The North West Thriving Communities Team has a regional coordinator, Christine Blythe as well as a local system level lead for each ‘sub-region’ in the North West, already linked-into and supporting Social Prescribing work in these areas:

These align with the Integrated Health Care System areas, aiming to support work specific to these locations and to link into different strategic conversations around Social Prescribing in each.

Our regional team also includes representation for the cross sector North West VCSE Social Prescribing Network through Voluntary Sector North West.

This local focus is a key strength of the North West regional Team – we aim to engage with VCSE groups and on-the-ground existing social prescribing networks directly through Thriving Communities.

You can find out more about the regional team and the North West Thriving Communities Network through the following slides, presented at our first ever Thriving Communities event in September 2020: Sept 2020 TC NW event slides

We also have key thematic Social Prescribing Pillars represented in the North West.

Core North West Thriving Communities Team

Christine Blythe – NW Thriving Communities Regional Coordinator Lead and Lead for Lancashire & South Cumbria 

Chief Executive Officer –  BPRCVS

After over 20 years working in the banking industry in a varied range of roles, I moved into the voluntary sector bringing with me the skills and knowledge gained at the bank but also from supporting our family business and being responsible for accounts etc.

I joined Burnley Pendle & Rossendale CVS in 2004, and after several different roles with increasing responsibilities became Chief Officer in July 2014.

Our clinical commission group worked with is to support the development of what is now a social Prescribing programme which includes grants for smaller VCF organisations, and this was the trigger to want to be involved in NASP and Thriving Communities and our North West coordinating team were successful at interview in late October 2020 and were appointed.

This appointment has opened up a whole new opportunity to promote the value and importance of the VCF sector in supporting the Social Prescribing movement.

In my “spare time” I love to be with my family and travel.

Jan Campbell – NW Thriving Communities Regional Lead for Cheshire & Merseyside

Health and Social Care Officer – Sefton CVS

I have worked for Sefton CVS for the last eight years, having previously worked in Public Health and Higher Education.  One of my main drivers is a desire to see positive change happen, to see ‘levelling up’ in health. I’ve been interested in health inequalities since the 1980’s, when the Black Report was published. I now work to support the engagement of VCFSE organisations in health promotion, protection and prevention. As the NASP Thriving Communities Lead for Cheshire and Merseyside I’m involved in the work on personalisation, sustainability and mental health, all of which links with social prescribing and achieving better health outcomes for people locally. The VCFSE sector has a huge role to play in health improvement and health creation. Our diversity is our greatest strength and I am inspired by the imagination, creativity and ingenuity of  the sector to deliver health creating opportunities within the community. For my own wellbeing I like connecting with friends and colleagues, walking on the local beach and in the pine woods, noticing the changing seasons and learning about the birds I haven’t previously noticed. I give time by volunteering as a Cub  Scout Leader and I sing in the Off Key Choir, a choir for people who can’t sing but do so with gusto just for the joy of it.  I hope I have the opportunity to meet you as part of the Learning Together programme in the North West.

Bruce Poole – NW Thriving Communities Regional Lead for Greater Manchester 

Health & Social Care Strategic Lead – Salford CVS

I am Bruce Poole, the GM Lead for Thriving Communities. I am a member of the GM Social Prescribing Steering Group and NAVCA (National) Social Prescribing Steering Group.

I have been working in and around health and social care in Greater Manchester for 20 years, though I am a pound southerner (no jeering please) with a career that has included work in the licence and entertainment trades.

Although I have a background in Public Health, my work has largely been focussed on working with communities for both Local Authority/ NHS and for the voluntary and community sector. I have worked as a strategic lead for health, wellbeing and social care at Salford CVS for the last four years. I also manage the flagship Wellbeing Matters programme, which includes Salford’s Social Prescribing scheme, and a one of the flagship Green Social Prescribing programmes.

Warren Escadale – NW Thriving Communities NW SP VCSE Network

Chief Executive – Voluntary Sector North West

Warren has been the Chief Executive of VSNW since 2014 and employed to advocate on behalf of the voluntary and community sector nationally and regionally for 20 years. He has championed the role of the sector in driving social and economic growth throughout his career. He is the Co-Chair of the NW Social Prescribing Network and National SP Network Steering Group Member.

Anna Cooper – NW Thriving Communities Events & NW Thriving Communities NW SP VCSE Network

Membership & Events Lead – Voluntary Sector North West

I am Anna Cooper, Membership & Events Lead at Voluntary Sector North West. As well as support for the team’s general activity, I work with the North West Thriving Communities to deliver the Learning Together Programme through comms and events. My previous experience is across both the private and third sector; having worked on private sector events for 6 years; as a Social Action Manager delivering the National Citizen’s Service programme; and as a long standing volunteer at Partisan Collective – a DIY arts and community centre. In my spare time, I enjoy art, gardening and run a music collective that hosts inclusive workshops and events for women, non-binary and trans people.




We are looking to recruit for our third cohort over the 2022 summer months – please email Anna Cooper to register your interest and be first to hear about the next North West Learning Together Programme.

Past events

  • 101: Intro to SP, Mental Health and Illness– 21st October 2021, 2:30-4pm Social Prescribing Mental Health Slides
  • 102: The Social Prescribing Journey – 23rd November 2021, 2-3:30pm The Social Prescribing Journey
  • 103: Knowing the Social Prescribing System – 16th December 2021, 2:30-4pm
  • 104: Models of Monitoring & Evaluation – 25th January 2022, 10-11:30am
  • Green Social Prescribing: Networking for People & Nature (In collaboration with Natural England) LT 105 – Thursday 24th March 2022 10am-3:30pm *in person – Pontins Southport Holiday Park, Merseyside (see video below)


The North West Social Prescribing Network

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