(reposted from Adur and Worthing Council website)
More than 2,300 residents of Adur and Worthing received help with their social, emotional and practical needs from Going Local - a social prescribing scheme - in 2020.
The community referral scheme, which was launched in 2016, is delivered by Adur & Worthing Councils. It helps to improve the wellbeing of people with non-medical problems which might be impacting on their health. This includes supporting people with housing and financial issues, or helping them to discover new interests.
The numbers referred have more than doubled since the previous year, mainly due to more people needing help during the COVID pandemic.
Previously only run as a referral service from GPs and other health professionals, residents can now refer themselves directly to the scheme.
The social prescribers work with residents to identify the issues they need help with and signpost them to local partner organisations or relevant Council departments for support. In the past year, the issues the team has helped people with include financial worries, housing needs, loneliness and support with their mental health.
Examples include an elderly couple in poor health who were being evicted from their rented accommodation. They were referred for housing support and given help with accessing benefits. Another resident with serious health issues was suffering from depression. He was given help with financial issues that were contributing to his condition, and signposted to MIND for mental health support.
In response to the COVID pandemic, the Going Local team established the Councils' Community Response in March 2020 to meet the needs of residents. This included providing emergency food provision to hundreds of people in need.
The team of six social prescribers are now working closely with all GP practices in Adur and Worthing to support the COVID vaccination effort. Looking ahead, a volunteer programme is being developed to enable the scheme to increase its support to the community.
Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, Cllr Val Turner, said:
“The Going Local team has had to adapt rapidly in response to pandemic to meet the changing needs of the local community. Through social prescribing and by working in partnership with the primary care services and local organisations, we are able to address the impact of COVID on individuals' lives.”
Find out more about the Going Local scheme.
Photo: PR21-034 - The Going Local social prescribing scheme, run by Adur & Worthing Councils, helps people with non-medical problems (photo taken prior to the COVID pandemic)