Since the Primary Care Network based Social Prescribing Team started at the very end of 2019, the team has received over 980 referrals from GP practices and beyond.
The main focus on referrals has been supporting people with mental health issues, loneliness and social isolation, however, the variety of support needs has been vast, including many that require benefits and employment advice, as well as needing support with housing issues.
The Link Workers work directly with the clients, sometimes advocating on their behalf, or researching    opportunities and activities that come up in their conversations to relay to the client as options.
Local networking, relationship building and client support are all elements of the Link Worker role.
On top of the networking, liaising and referring to services such as Mind, IAPT, Change-Live-Grow, Blind Aid, Lewisham Advice, Bench, 999 Club, Street Link, housing adaptations,  Food banks, Age Exchange one of the biggest strengths is the knowledge and experience each Link Worker brings to the team  – whether it is local knowledge, or personal experience, the suggestions they give each other to support a client is crucial in how the team operates and we can’t thank them enough for their positivity.
Link Workers were also a key part of the pandemic response during the early lock down this year, calling up and supporting vulnerable and shielding residents, phoning over 5000 local residents in the spring of 2020, supporting and connecting them to emergency food, medication collections and many other issues.
The below video demonstrates how a call would go:
A few clients commented recently:
 
“I fully appreciate the support I was offered and the excellent communication. The range of services is very broad and gives one lots of choice. I have managed to attend so far, which was very exciting and good for health.  I am looking forward to join more. My mood is much boosted”

“You’re a lifeline, you really are”

“I can see light at the end of the tunnel…you’ve brightened my day”

Link Workers mentioned the following:
“What I most enjoy about being a link worker is the way in which you can connect with people from various walks of life and introduce them to some of the wonderful things people in the community have pulled together to create, then hearing the gratitude that these people have just for that introduction and the disbelief that someone out there cares enough to have created such services.”
“You get a great sense of satisfaction knowing you may have helped someone even just a little, even if it just means hearing them out where they might not have had the chance to be heard before and pointing them in the right direction. Its heart-warming to see the interventions created for people in need created by those who see the need for these services, I myself am grateful to those people who work tirelessly to fill in the gaps in specific services that otherwise might be overlooked and gives me faith in the kindness in our communities.”
“I enjoy working on a client case, seeing the process of someone improving, the positive effect on someone’s life.  Directing and introducing them to services for the positive outcome”
We wish to thank our Link Workers for their ongoing work and support.
To find out more about Social Prescribing in Lewisham click here