VONNE is the lead body for the North East and North Cumbria ICB’s Healthy Communities and Social Prescribing Workstream, managing the delivery plan for this funding. Our Infrastructure Investment Programme is supporting place-based investment in VCSE infrastructure to facilitate better connections, collaboration and delivery in terms of social prescribing.
This work is overseen by a Steering Group of key partners, co-chaired by Dr Guy Pilkington, Chair of the NENC Prevention Advisory Group, and Richard Boggie, VONNE’s Health Partnerships Strategic Manager. The Steering Group includes partners from the NHS, Public Health, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and the VCSE sector.
Collaboration, sharing and learning will be key to the programme’s success. VONNE brings together local delivery partners at our six-monthly Stakeholder Group.
Funding managed through this Infrastructure Investment Programme is helping to build capacity for social prescribing in our region. Here are some examples of the fantastic work being undertaken in Hartlepool, Darlington and Gateshead:
When Dawn Robinson started her role as a young people’s community development worker in Hartlepool, young people had already highlighted the problem – there’s not enough to do – and provided a list of 10 projects they’d like to see happen in their town. That was in March 2023 and she hasn’t wasted any time tackling the list and addressing the health inequalities faced by young people in Hartlepool.
At the top of Dawn’s list was an anime and gaming project, with a large number of young people interested in meeting with others who share these interests and learning drawing and animation skills. Dawn approached Geek Retreat, a business based in Hartlepool, and together they set up a pilot project of Tuesday night sessions for young people with additional needs, ages 11-25. It has quickly become an important social lifeline for young people who may be marginalised or experience isolation.
Darlington Connect is open to anyone who needs any kind of help. Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Anne-Marie Curry officially opened the doors in April and the facility has already assisted almost 400 people. Its purpose is to connect people to the help they need, and facilitate joined-up, coordinated, access to the many excellent services and support agencies that exist across the town, whether through the voluntary and community sector, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust or Darlington Borough Council.
However, the project is more than a sign-posting agency, it is a multi-agency network in which experienced support workers will help people access the right help, at the right place, at the point where it is needed. The investment funding will help Darlington Connect to support Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) in developing an outreach service. This service will enable disabled people and carers, who might not be able to use the town centre site, to access the support on offer.
Edberts House plans to use their funding to increase capacity across the Borough, building on the success of their HOPE (Health of the Population in the East) Network. The Network brings Social Prescribing Link Workers together with Public Health, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and community groups. Funding will help develop initiatives through the Network, and help develop this model across PCNs throughout Gateshead.
You can sign-up to receive our Healthy Communities and Social Prescribing Network bulletin which periodically shares information about the programme, resources, events and learning opportunities as well as wider social prescribing news and developments. If you're a social prescribing lead within the NHS, Local Authorities and the VCSE sector across the North East and North Cumbria, join our mailing list.
The Integrated Care System (ICS) explained
VCSE Partnership Programme
VCSE Research Partnerships
Healthy Communities and Social Prescribing
- About the North East and North Cumbria Healthy Communities and Social Prescribing programme.
- Our Health Champions project.
Reading for Wellbeing