The National Academy for Social Prescribing is delighted to announce that Tom Watkins of Communities 1st will be Thriving Communities Lead for the East Region. 

Communities 1st are a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation; CVS, Volunteer Centre, Wellbeing Services and Voluntary support organisation based in Hertfordshire. Prior to taking on the role for NASP Tom has worked here leading the Volunteer Centre team as Volunteering Development manager since 2019. They have been awarded a contract by NASP to build and deliver the Thriving Communities programme across the East of England region.  

Thriving Communities is the National Support Programme initiated by NASP in response to the impact and challenges caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s aimed at helping voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations share learning, ideas and best practise. The programme’s work will enable these organisations to link in with local social prescribing schemes and be well placed to attract funding opportunities. By developing partnerships and fostering new connections we hope to create a stronger sector for social prescribing to take root and communities to thrive.  

Tom is a lifelong volunteer and has been involved in all kinds of community activity and support over the years. He has enjoyed a varied career before joining Communities 1st, helping to establish Social Prescribing in Hertfordshire as part of the Community Navigator team almost 10 years ago. He has also worked as a Gymnastics coach in various clubs across the country and still finds time to teach when he can. He ran an international film festival and is a trained actor. Tom volunteers as a presenter on local Radio and is a passionate supporter of the arts.

Tom says: “I am a social prescribing evangelist; I know the amazing things it can do to transform lives, empower people and improve wellbeing. I love working with people and I love to help organisations maximise the impact they have in the community. I’m really looking forward to sharing learning and development opportunities across the east region, supporting new partnerships and networks and championing best practise to hopefully strengthen communities. The east of England has always been a pioneering region with incredible organisations that work so hard for the community, I’m very excited to be in a position to help sustain that.” 

Joshua Ryan, Head of Thriving Communities, says “Through our regional leads we are cementing the strategic work that NASP are doing at a national level. These experts in their area will work with organisations delivering social prescribing in their local communities to deliver care that matters for each person. Thriving Communities is all about doing just that – enabling communities to thrive – and we’re delighted to have Tom on board to support the advancement of social prescribing in the East of England.” 

To find out more about Thriving Communities visit our page here.