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Parent with child in wheelchair
Parent with child in wheelchair

New funding supports social prescribing in Scotland

  • Date published: 17/02/22

Over £85,000 has been awarded to 12 organisations across Scotland from the PHP Community Impact Fund to provide support for social prescribing services in the community.

The fund, established by Primary Health Properties, launched last Autumn to offer support for health and wellbeing initiatives in the communities served by its medical practices. Managed by Foundation Scotland, one of only two community foundations in the UK to pilot the new initiative, the fund is designed to provide additional and innovative services for those most in need from the patients served by practice buildings owned by PHP across the country.

Social prescribing enables a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing and is increasingly being used to complement the work of GPs and their teams. The approach continues to play a vital role in helping communities recover and rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic, with a particular emphasis on services to support mental health and combat loneliness. As one of the UK's leading investors in modern primary healthcare facilities, PHP created the Community Impact Fund to support GP practices and their communities with this model of care.

Parent to Parent, a charity supporting families caring for children with additional needs in Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross received £7,827 from the fund to provide more support hours for local families. The aim of the project is to support and give parents the skills to help them understand and manage the stress and distress in their lives and that of their child. These skills aim to help everyone in the family to recognise their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and help to monitor and manage their own emotions and mental health. It is also designed to help manage distress, regulate emotions, increase mindfulness, and promote effective communication.

The skills are grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which has an impressive evidence base.  A dedicated worker will get to know parents and support and work alongside them in helping them to learn, understand and use the skills in daily life. The support can be on a 1:1 basis or within group workshops, and in the longer term linking parents into peer support networks within their local community.

Trudy Doidge, Head of Service for Parent to Parent commented:

We are pleased to announce a fabulous addition to our support offer to parents who are experiencing anxiety and mental health concerns and have a child who has, or is suspected of having, additional support needs.  A huge thank you to PHP and Foundation Scotland who have provided the grant to extend staffing hours. It will enable us to strengthen our community support network as we work in partnership with GP practices and local community venues.”

In the southside of Glasgow a £5,066 grant was awarded to Glasgow’s Golden Generation to cover the cost of a Dementia Champion who will help to support 250 older people with dementia at the David Cargill Centre. Attendees will be able to enjoy a home cooked meal, enjoy entertainment, games & activities and connect with friends and support staff.

Lynsey Neilson, Dementia Champion, said,

“As we finally welcome older people back to the centre we offer an opportunity to build friendships and help them to feel part of a community once again. We know from our years of experience that attending the day centre can help to slow the progress of conditions such as dementia and very often delays the progression to a higher level of care”.

And in Perthshire, a £1,732 grant was awarded to Strathcare in Crieff. The award has enabled the ongoing provision of a cinema group which is an opportunity for young adults to safely socialise without worry or stigma in a supported environment. This will enable the development of social skills and confidence to allow them to participate in other local activities.

Katy Oliver is the practice manager at the Blue Practice Crieff Medical Centre and has welcomed the increased awareness that the Community Impact Fund has generated. GP’s work with Marisa to refer patients to community-based activities to combat mental health issues and loneliness. She said:

“The successful funding of these community activities has highlighted their availability and will encourage GP’s to further increase their social prescribing referrals to help reduce clinical intervention and improve the health and wellbeing of their patients and communities”

Across Scotland, a total of £86,927 was distributed among 12 organisations delivering a range of health and wellbeing programmes for their local communities. These include services to support young people’s mental health and social inclusion, art therapy for children with long-term chronic conditions, gardening activities to promote wellbeing. This is an excellent example of true partnership working with GP’s, social prescribers and community groups coming together to deliver targeted solutions to their patients.

Harry Hyman, CEO of Primary Health Care Properties, commented,

“We were delighted with the range and scope of the applications to our new Community Impact Fund. It’s clear that social prescribing is an important area of growth in promoting health and wellbeing and we look forward to hearing how the organisations we have funded are able to develop their services over the coming months.”

Next month sees the third annual Social Prescribing Day take place in the UK on Thursday 10th March. Watch out for project highlights from the fund and view the full list of funded projects here.