National Academy for Social Prescribing launches Thriving Communities programme

We are delighted to announce that VONNE has been appointed Regional Lead of the soon to be launched National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) Thriving Communities programme. Jane Hartley, our Health and Wellbeing Associate will be Regional Coordinator, working with partners to implement this new development programme across the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside to help local VCSE groups provide support for communities most impacted by Covid-19. In this blog post, she explains more.

Thriving Communities is a multi-agency initiative, coordinated by NASP, and we will be working with regional leads from the national partners including Sport England, NHS Charities Together, Natural England, Arts Council England, Money and Pensions Service and NHS England. We are also working with local infrastructure organisation networks in Yorkshire and Humberside to ensure reach across and between neighbouring regions.

Through my role as Regional Social Prescribing Facilitator, I have seen the newly-developed social prescribing link worker role embedded in GP practices, but we’ve seen little in the way of support for the grassroots groups providing community support to individuals referred by link workers. 

Many of you will have participated in the regional workshop run by National Voices in partnership with VONNE back in February, during which we had the opportunity to input to the research commissioned by NHS England exploring the perspectives and experiences of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in relation to the NHS rollout of social prescribing published in September. The report made recommendations for improvements – from the need for stronger relationships between VCSE organisations and Primary Care teams, to a call for a greater focus on tackling health inequalities, and highlighted the need to provide VCSE organisations experiencing greater demand for their services with appropriate resources.

Thriving Communities is intended to go some way to addressing some of these recommendations and will provide the VCSE sector, particularly smaller groups, with the opportunity to be part of peer support and action learning groups, access funding and get support to develop partnerships across sectors, including arts, financial wellbeing, natural environment, leisure, physical activity and sport, health and care.

There will be an opportunity to join the Thriving Communities Network, which will provide regular webinars tailored to the needs of the VCSE sector, and access to a Thriving Communities Ideas Hub, through which you can share your work, hear new ideas and gain access to helpful resources.

The programme will be launched nationally on November 10th, and will run to July 2021. Our work will include co-developing and co-delivering the regional programme throughout this period.

To find out more, join the National Academy for Social Prescribing at the programme launch, which will celebrate and champion the work of local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups supporting communities most impacted by Covid-19.

The event, which will take place at 12noon on launch day, will bring together local groups and organisations to share their work, embracing new ways of involving citizens, simple acts of kindness and community action that helps people build on their strengths and community assets. Register your place today.