SPRING Social Prescribing is a partnership between the Healthy Living Centre Alliance and Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, SPRING Social Prescribing has a network of 30 community health partners delivering Social Prescribing services in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Social Prescribing aims to use a community led approach to health improvement by supporting communities experiencing poor health outcomes.
Using the holistic model of health Social Prescribing recognises the many and complex social factors that affect people’s health, these may include:
- Social Isolation
- Low Mood
- Mild Depression
- Physical Inactivity
Referrals to the programme can be taken from: Primary healthcare staff, Connect Community Care Hub as well as Talking Therapies.
The Social Prescriber will then refer patients to community support programmes that meet the clients identified needs. These programmes can range from Social Clubs, Physical Activity, Counselling and Peer Support Groups.
The Social Prescribing programme is relatively new to LORAG and due to the unexpected lockdown with Covid 19 we have been unable to host an official launch or introduction to many of the organisations working in the local area.
The programme has therefore had to change over the past couple of months and change its focus to a Connect Well programme. This has involved providing support via telephone calls which may include Emotional support to those people who may be finding it a little more difficult in the current climate. The connect well programme also aims to offer clients help with food packages, household items, social isolations, medications as well as signposting on to any other services that may be of benefit to the client.
So far SPRING has delivered sessions on Tai Chi and Music Therapy online via Zoom. These classes will run for 6 weeks initially and are open to people from all across Belfast. We are also near completion of a short Mindfulness video which will also be available to anyone who thinks it may benefit them. It will be a short introduction on mindfulness and some key components of how to practice it. With it being a video format it is therefore available for people to use in their own time and own space where they will get the most benefit from it.
After lockdown, the aim is to have the programme up and running as explained above and working closer with the people to help provide and signpost to services that will Engage and Empower them.
Some Client Quotes:
“I found the music therapy very good. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next session. I wasn’t sure what to expect when Paul first suggested it but it was a wonderful experience…
The therapist Neal is a nice fella and funny too. With the songs he helped me to feel relaxed and calm, also brought back some brilliant memories.”
“I’m very grateful to Paul from LORAG for his weekly check in phone calls during Lockdown. Paul’s very motivating and has introduced me to Tai Chi class on Thursday mornings, and Music Therapy class on Monday afternoons. Tai Chi has helped with my mobility and balance while breathing through with pain management. I was hesitant joining the Music Therapy class with Neil, I only agreed, because I didn’t want to let Paul down. as he’s been so good. The Music Therapy was great, really enjoyable, I wasn’t sure it was for me as I have hypersensitivity to noise and light which in turn triggers terrible headache. The therapist used methods for breathing and meditation techniques and was interactive with everyone on screen and I’m glad to be a part of these classes and to hear from Paul for our weekly contact, especially during these times that are very isolating.”