£1.8 million to fund 37 social prescribing projects through the Thriving Communities Programme
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37 social prescribing projects aiming to tackle loneliness, improve wellbeing and help communities recover from COVID-19 have been announced, thanks to a £1.8 million fund as part of the Thriving Communities Programme.

The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) and Arts Council England, Historic England and Natural England, NHS England and Improvement, Sport England, the Money and Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together, as part of the Thriving Communities Programme, will fund 37 community projects up to £50,000 each to further advance social prescribing and support communities as they recover from COVID-19.

A range of local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups will be given grants to support projects that unlock the power of social prescribing in their local areas, bringing together place-based partnerships across arts and culture, heritage, nature, physical exercise, financial wellbeing, health and care.

At a celebratory event to mark Social Prescribing Day, the outcome of the £1.8m Thriving Communities Fund was announced, including:

  • Nature activities – OrganicLea in London provides wellbeing activities in green spaces including gardening, forest bathing, nature conservation, yoga, cycling lessons, green volunteering, craft making, and community meals.
  • Exercise – In Trafford, Friends of Stretford Public Hall will deliver a broad range of activities including online and in-person exercise classes, walking groups, thai boxing, and cycling trips.
  • Singing – Sunderland Social Prescribing Partnership and Sunderland Culture will be running an extensive programme of high-quality creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families including Singing for Lung Health, a 10 week singing programme for people with COPD and families. Led by a participatory musician to build confidence, sessions will cover breathing techniques, singing familiar harmonies and songs.
  • Empowerment – Wonder Women in Peterborough will support women to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 period, build confidence, meet with others, grow self-esteem and improve financial literacy.

These local projects will bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – with a focus on those people most impacted by COVID-19 and health inequalities.

Local community partnerships will encourage innovation and improve the evidence base for social prescribing. Projects include football to support mental health, art for dementia, heritage trails and walks, improving green spaces, and singing to improve recovery from COVID-19.

James Sanderson, Chief Executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said: “The last year has shown how important social prescribing is in helping people to stay connected, feel supported and to maintain their wellbeing. We began our ambitious agenda to support people to live the best life they can by accessing support in their local communities based on what matters to them. We are so pleased to support, and encourage, these projects through the Thriving Communities Fund, to scale and spread social prescribing even further, and help our communities to thrive.”

You can read more about projects supported by the Thriving Communities Fund here.

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