Hello everyone

It's only a few weeks until Christmas - unbelievable isn't it?  We are getting asked quite a bit now about the date for International Social Prescribing Day for 2022.  We are delighted to tell you that we are going to have a Social Prescribing week between the 4th-11th March 2022 to provide time to celebrate the amazing work everyone is doing.  The official Social Prescribing Day will be the 10th March 2022 which coincides with the first day of our International Social Prescribing Network conference and the Social Prescribing Network Awards ceremony.   In the coming weeks, we hope to provide brandless images that you can use on social media and add your own organization logo to.  So get thinking about the ways in which you may want to showcase social prescribing in March 2022.   Thank you to Bogdan for coordinating this behind the scenes!

Last month we started a new course for link workers to support them working with people with food-related issues.  The free course covers an introduction into how our body uses food, self-care tips for link workers, information on working with clients who are obese, support to identify clients who may be malnourished or in food poverty, professional boundaries, and behaviour change models.  All of this is consolidated by working in small groups on three case studies. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from the first 2 groups. The next two courses which will be running in January are now available to book online.  

Have a look at the rest of the newsletter for research articles, ways in which you can support Children and Young People's social prescribing research, for schemes that are running and updates on our conference.  We are thrilled to have Sir Michael Marmot as our Keynote speaker for Day 1 - what a privilege that will be.   

Stay well and keep social prescribing!


Co-Chair, Social Prescribing Network


Conference updates 
We are getting pretty excited at SPN HQ that our 4th International Social Prescribing Network conference is only 14 weeks away.  We are very happy to announce that Sir Michael Marmot will be our keynote speaker. He has been Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985 and is Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity.  Michael Marmot is at the forefront of taking action to reduce health inequalities as a matter of social justice. We look forward to hearing from him on the need to confront the social gradient in health not just the difference between the worst off and everybody else.  You can book your ticket for the two-day conference on 10th and 11th March online.


Abstract submissions

One of the priorities for our conferences is to provide people with a platform to share their research and experiences with a wide audience.  Our conference attracted a global audience of over 1000 people last year, so it is a great way to disseminate research data to other researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.  The deadline for submission is next Friday 10th December 5pm BST.  You can submit your abstract online at Oxford Abstracts.


Our conference is a great opportunity for exhibitors to reach a wide and varied audience.  We have a dedicated area of exhibitors on our conference platform that will still allow you to interact with delegates.  For more information email

Social Prescribing Awards 2022
Once again we have some fantastic sponsors for next year's Social Prescribing Awards who are helping us recognise the amazing projects and people in the world of social prescribing.  Below you can read about some of the awards that you can apply for.  The awards are closing on December 13th so make sure to enter - you can find out more information on the different categories and enter at Chamberlain Dunn.



 Best large project

Award for the Best Larger Social Prescribing Project: for larger projects created to make an impact across, for example, a county or clinical commissioning group, an integrative care partnership (ICP/ICS) or Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

Sponsored by Elemental.

Best local project

Award for the Best Local Social Prescribing Project: smaller scale, local projects e.g. across a town or locality, that are well underway and helping people in the community. 

Sponsored by Viridian Nutrition                    




 Best community project

Award for best Community-based Organisation in Social Prescribing: any type of community group or organisation that is associated with social prescribing pathways.

Sponsored by The Conservation Volunteers & People's Postcode Lottery

Link worker of the year

Award for Social Prescribing Link Worker of the Year: someone who you thinks makes a difference to people’s lives and goes above and beyond; a person who has persevered through challenges, has made things happen and is great at encouraging colleagues and clients.  You can nominate yourself or someone else.

Sponsored by Simply Connect.




Ways To Wellness

During a visit to Discovery Museum in Newcastle earlier this month His Royal Highness Prince Charles, a long-time advocate of social prescribing, met the team behind the social prescribing initiative Ways to Wellness, which has delivered remarkable success to people living in the west end of the city.

Out of nearly 3,000 clients who have engaged with the service and have subsequently been discharged, 86% show improvement in well-being.  Analysis has shown the secondary care cost per patient for the Ways to Wellness cohort was 27% lower than the comparison cohort. In one year alone this equated to a saving of £1.56 million as well as freeing up GP time to deal with other patients.

Thanks to further funding and is to be extended to the East End of Newcastle. The age range is also being widened to 30-74 to take as well as now going to be trialled in specialist areas of child neurological conditions (in partnership with the Great North Children’s Hospital) and patients with persistent chronic pain symptoms.



The Ways to Wellness service is funded from various pots including Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group, The National Lottery Community Fund and a Social Impact Bond.


The visit also made the BBC news, if you missed it, you can find it on YouTube.  You can also access the Ways to Wellness 6 year report on their website.

Social Prescribing Research
As the amount of social prescribing research being published is increasing almost exponentially now, we want to feature three recent papers in each newsletter.  The three for this month are:

The role of cultural, community and natural assets in addressing societal and structural health inequalities in the UK: Future research priorities.
 This paper by Thomson, L.J., et al (2021) explores the role of cultural, community and natural assets in relation to future research priorities to address UK societal and structural health inequalities.
Exploring the enablers and barriers to social prescribing for people living with long-term neurological conditions: a focus group investigation.  This paper by Simpson et al (2021) is a much needed report on potential service users views on social prescribing for people living with Long term neurological disorders and how services could be more accessible and inclusive.
Swedish primary care health practitioners’ perspectives on the impact of arts on prescription for patients and the wider society: a qualitative interview study.  This
research Jensen A and Bungay H (2021) This study sets out to explore the perspectives of primary healthcare practitioners in Sweden in relation to Arts of Prescription as an additional referral pathway.

Call for evidence - social prescribing for children and young people to improve mental health

A team led by Vashti Berry and Kerryn Husk, and including some of our committee members Marcello Bertotti and Paul Jarvis-Beesley, are conducting a review of evidence relating to how children and young people (CYP) access social prescribing community assets for health and wellbeing, to improve mental health. This project will extend the growing evidence base around social prescribing in the primary care and public health arenas by focussing on its use for CYP and in particular prevention and early intervention in mental health conditions, which are a key growing concern for primary care, public health and education services.


They are particularly interested in:

· Which individuals and services are children and young people presenting at, for mental health difficulties? How do children and young people find out about relevant services? What are the referral processes for CYP to access community groups or services?

· How do young people with mental health difficulties travel through the care pathway to access support: How do children and young people access community offers?


In addition to searching for published evidence, they are keen to gather other types of evidence including any information from community projects working directly with CYP to improve mental health, for example unpublished evaluations, reports or leaflets; project websites; conference presentations or posters; blogs or other social media content; any other sources of information which may be relevant.


If you have any information you think may be helpful to share, or any questions about the study, please contact Alex Gude on

More information about the study can be found at:

The Lullaby Project
Music charity Live Music Now is working with the NHS to launch the Lullaby Project, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to improve peri-natal healthcare and reduce health inequalities caused by economic, cultural, and education disadvantage through the medium of music.

Created by New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Lullaby Project pairs pregnant women and new mothers and fathers with professional musicians to write and perform personal lullabies for their babies to support maternal health, childhood development, and family bonding.  Together they explore expectant or new parents’ feelings and hopes for their children, using the universality of a lullaby, drawing on all music genres and styles, carefully reflecting the participants’ interests and tastes. Once the writing, performing and recording process is complete, the project will culminate in a series of celebratory concerts featuring the new songs.

The original creators, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, have been involved with the project from the outset, providing training for Live Music Now musicians and sharing research, resources and best practice.  

Working alongside NHS peri-natal mental health services with Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s Heath and Maternity Partnership, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Swansea Bay Health Board and Perinatal Mental Health Unit, pilot projects are planned or underway with first concerts following Baby Week.  In partnership with the NHS Local Maternity System (LMS) the Lullaby Project will roll out across the UK, helping prospective partner organisations support vulnerable families and provide a much-needed boost to the NHS’s early intervention and prevention agenda and continuity of carer programme by promoting early engagement with antenatal services through the arts.

Janet Fischer, CEO, Live Music Now says: “Some of the earliest sounds from our childhood have a profound impact on the rest of our lives. By inviting families to join forces with professional musicians to create and sing personal lullabies for their babies we hope to improve parental confidence and creativity while nurturing mother and baby attachment and early bonding. It’s all the opportunity to expose young children to language and music they might not normally have the chance to discover and bring communities together.”

You can listen to some of the new music here and find more information by visiting Live Music Now.


Holding Time - supporting breastfeeding 

Holding Time is an NHS funded breastfeeding project which launched in Cheshire and Merseyside on Friday 19th November and is already transforming lives. The Holding Time Project is designed as an experiment in using art to improve breastfeeding rates, influence behaviour, and improve perinatal mental health.

Working across the city with grassroots groups, NHS teams, hospitals, libraries, and universities The Holding Time Project brings conversations about breastfeeding to the heart of the community through a multi-platform, multi-layered approach.

Mothers collaborating with artists and each other, create exhibitions, workshops, radio programmes and social media events that will overturn stereotypes, challenge assumptions and inspire a new generation of families to find their way back to this practice that has given humans health for millions of years.

The project was recently featured on BBC radio, you can listen here at 15.04 minutes. You can find more information on the Holding Time website.


Do you have something you would like use to share? Tweet us @SocialPrescrib2 or send an email to

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The SPN is part of the College of Medicine which is a registered charity in England and Wales (1145676) and is a registered company (07081291). The College of Medicine’s registered office is c/0 West & Berry, Mocatta House, Trafalgar Place, Brighton, BN1 4DU. 
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