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.
Hear from a youth social prescribing Link Worker
Social Prescribing Youth Network
Join the Social Prescribing Youth Network (SPYN) for free to stay up to date with news, developments, resources, funding and training and receive priority invitations to youth social prescribing events.
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:
- Four pilot delivery sites in Brighton & Hove, Luton, Sheffield and Southampton.
- Over 600 members of the Social Prescribing Youth Network (via an online survey)
- Focus groups of parents, led by Family Action
- Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) at the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter
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.