Suffolk Council to deliver £35,000 social prescribing pilot

Suffolk Coastal District Council has received £35,000 in funding to help deliver an innovative health project in Leiston, to help give people with long term health conditions non-medical support from the local community.

The project, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Community Fund, aims to reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and A&E services by encouraging people to think of alternative self support through engagement with community groups, rather than visiting their doctor and discovering the holistic types of care available from appropriate registered health professionals and organisations as well as groups within the local community.

The type of support that is being promoted includes alternatives for drug and alcohol dependency, mental health issues, domestic violence and health improvement. Community support may also include Men’s sheds, knit and natter groups, lunch clubs, choirs, keep fit groups, diabetes support network and volunteering, as well as any other group that helps to address loneliness and isolation and improve community network support.

Nicole Rickard, head of Communities at Suffolk Coastal District Council, commented: “We’ve already held an event in Leiston with the wider community to encourage people to think of alternatives to medical care to support them to manage their long-term health conditions.

“The Leiston surgery and GP is very supportive of a social prescribing approach and is already fully engaged with the Anti-Social Behaviour work taking place in Leiston. We hope with this funding, we can start to get people thinking about alternatives to visiting their doctor and by doing so, help them to take more ownership and control over their own health.”