Youth Social Prescribing

Social Prescribing – the means by which people of all ages can find their way into local, wellbeing-boosting initiatives, with the help of a link worker, or community navigator – is now thriving, and delivering fantastic results for people all over the UK.

Traditionally used to help adults and older adults find non-medical ways of combating loneliness and stress, research has shown that social prescribing has multiple health and social benefits for young people too, with dozens of compelling reasons why this work should begin as early in life as possible.

StreetGames founded the Social Prescribing Youth Network (SPYN) with the ambition that every Primary Care Network in England should have at least one Link Worker dedicated to working with children and young people. The network continues to grow and now has over 1000 members, including Link Workers, voluntary and community organisations, social prescribing coordinators, commissioners, funders, GPs, youth workers, police officers, teachers and researchers.

We are proud to be pioneers in this area of work and are excited to be working on the INSPYRE project, a major new research programme led by UCL and in partnership with the Anna Freud Centre. The project will trial offering immediate social prescribing treatments to children and young people referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services — many of whom face long waiting lists, often leading to a deterioration in their mental health — with the aim of developing a model for embedding social prescribing that can be scaled nationally, bringing social prescribing to more children and young people who could benefit.

Resources for children & young people’s social prescribing

In 2020, NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) commissioned the Social Prescribing Youth Network to develop a proposal for ‘youth social prescribing’ to help build an all-age model of social prescribing. Following completion of this work, and using some of the information gathered, SPYN produced the following resources which are intended to help more areas to introduce all-age social prescribing.

These resources were co-produced with:

The authors are Dr Marie Polley, Dr Marcello Bertotti and Paul Jarvis-Beesley

SPYN would like to acknowledge and thank the many others who made invaluable contributions, in particular: Dawn Mitchell, Kerryn Husk, Lorna Burns, Kate Allen, Siobhan Mitchell, Vashti Berry, Daniel Hayes, Andrew Boyd, Sirinda Bhindal, Delia Beck, Jo Robins and Jo Ward.

Executive Summary

An overview of these resources and background to the project.


A set of seven principles for all-age social prescribing.

Case study: YMCA Downslink, Brighton & Hove

The main target group for this project were children and young people aged 11-25 who are socially isolated or at risk of social isolation.

Case study: Sheffield Futures

The main target group for this project were children and young people aged 13-25 with emotional problems.

Case study: NoLimitsHelp, Southampton

The main target group for this project were children and young people aged 11-24 with emotional support need and/or physical/mental disabilities.

Case study: Active Luton

The main target group for this project were children and young people aged 11-18 with high levels of anxiety and/or loneliness.

Youth Link Worker job description template

An example job description that you can use to advertise your own Link Worker role.

Caseload briefing

An evidence-based briefing on caseloads in children and young people’s social prescribing.

Safeguarding and quality assurance

A collection of useful online resources around safeguarding and quality assurance that can be used for youth social prescribing.

Understanding outcomes

A summary of outcomes and measurement tools.

Further reading

Youth Social Prescribing in Practice

Insights from a 3-year funded youth social prescribing pilot programme in four sites across England.

Social Prescribing for Young People

Paul Jarvis-Beesley, former Head of Health at StreetGames, blogs for UK Youth.

Social Prescribers for Children

StreetGames speaks to Children & Young People Now magazine.

How Social Prescribing Can Help Young People

From the Nursing Children and Young People journal.

Social Prescribing: Your Questions Answered

Answers to FAQs raised by delegates at the StreetGames Youth Social Prescribing Showcase in May 2019.

Association of Colleges Social Prescribing Pilot 2020-2022

A report detailing the impact of the Social Prescribing in Colleges project.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay in touch with our work, unlock your fundraising potential and discover how we change lives!

"*" indicates required fields

Yes, I would like to subscribe to the StreetGames newsletter*