I was very interested to see recently the launch of The National Academy for Social Prescribing, backed by £5m of Government funding. It will aim to share best practice, develop accreditation and training and seek to improve the social prescribing evidence base. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s about all of us in health, arts, culture, sport, communities coming together around one simple principle: that prevention is better than cure.”
Myself and my colleague Philippa, Creativity Works’ Creative Wellbeing Manager, recently attended a Round table of community members and stakeholders convened by St. John’s Foundation on behalf of Dr Andrew Smith of Combe Down GP Surgery at St. Andrew’s Community Church in Fox Hill. At the meeting, Dr Smith re-iterated NHS England’s ambition that Primary care networks will be supported by 1,000 social prescribing workers by April 2021. The plans for personalised care provision will see each network have access to a social prescriber link worker, whose salary will be fully funded by NHS England. The workers are being recruited to help patients find suitable activities that are a better alternative to medication. There is, however, yet to be any specific government funding for any of the activities that may be prescribed.
The conversations we had around the tables, although positive, highlighted much of the discrepancy in resources and wellbeing that are evident between the geographically close communities of Foxhill, Combe Down and the new Mulberry Park. Due to recent tensions in the area over housing-related matters, we know first-hand how difficult it has been for many of the residents of Foxhill, and we are determined to continue the successful, and much-needed, arts development work we have been delivering there for a couple of years.
The delivery of our work is very much focused around the prevention agenda and we do hope to work more closely with social prescribers and GP’s going forward. It does sometimes feel that work that we, and many other artists and arts organisations, have been doing for a long time, working alongside people in communities to improve their mental health and wellbeing and boost community cohesion, is really only now being recognised more widely as both an impactful preventative health measure in itself and also a long-term cost saving exercise.
If you, or anyone you know would like to join our peer-led photography group, Foxhill Happy Snappers, please do get in touch with Philippa. Their most recent work will be exhibited at The Hub Mulberry Park from Saturday 9th November onwards. This exhibition is part of our on-going arts project called ‘Made in Foxhill’.
On Saturday 9th we will be holding a family arts day with theatre performances, animation, craft and cooking activities, as well as an artisan craft market. Do come along and enjoy the fun 10am-3pm The Hub, Mulberry Park. See inside this newsletter for further details.
Director, Creativity Works