Dr Marie Polley is stepping down as the Social Prescribing Network Co-Chair
In 2015, myself and Michael Dixon applied for a seed award from Wellcome to fund a research project exploring Health Creation. We collaborated with Alyson McGregor, Chris Drinkwater and James Flemming. We got £40K and with part of that money we set up one event to bring together people who were prescribing non-medical approaches to support health.
Thank you to everyone who has come on board to support and progress social prescribing - together we are and will always stronger.
And for me - I have come full circle back to research and evaluation. My company, Meaningful Measures continues to grow, I will still have a place on the SPN steering committee and will continue to Co-lead the Evidence Collaborative with NASP.
There have been so many more developments and this is all down to people's desire to collaborate and not compete. I certainly had no idea that co-chairing this network would lead to a social movement being born and I am hugely privileged to have been a part of it. But all good things have a natural end and I am delighted to be handing over my Co-Chairing role to Sian Brand. Sian is dedicated to the development of high-quality, equitable social prescribing. Together with Michael, they will make a fantastic team.
In six short years, the Social Prescribing Network has supported the implementation of social prescribing into the NHS, and the growth of social prescribing in Wales, Scotland, and the island of Ireland. A sister network for Children and Young People was born and more recently an institute in Canada, as well as developments in 16 countries. Research funding streams are now online, research is being published, people's voices are being heard and we have hosted the largest international conferences in the world.
During this time I have had the pleasure to work with my Co-Chair Michael Dixon, whom I have learned so much from. I have had two amazing Social Prescribing Network Coordinators, firstly Nick Herbert and then Sonya Elnaschie, who continues to keep us organised at HQ. I have worked with a diverse, progressive, innovative and highly talented group of people on the steering committee - and despite our occasional differences of opinions, we have been united with the desire to change the way the system works and create ways to tackle inequalities.
Six years on, after the wildest career-based roller coaster ride and definitely the most satisfying project I ever worked on, I am stepping down from Co-Chairing the Social Prescribing Network.
A message from Michael Dixon on Maries time as Co-Chair
Marie has been a tireless, passionate and effective leader for Social Prescribing taking it from just a few examples here and there to it now becoming universal in England. Without her drive and authority, it would never have become a national movement or national policy and she has been the brains behind the national and international conferences, newsletters and media activity that have led to its success in such a short time. The ship has been truly launched but we will greatly miss our inspirational admiral.
Welcome to Sian Brand, our new Social Prescribing Network Co-Chair
I am delighted and honoured to become the Co-Chair of the National Social Prescribing Network. I have been a member of the Steering group since its inception and have been working in the world of social prescribing for over seven years now. It’s been a whirlwind of challenges, as well as amazing opportunities, and no one could have imagined that we would move from Social Movement following the first Conference in early 2016, to national policy and over 2500 Social Prescribing Link Workers in 2022. I would like to thank Marie for her dedication to the network and for making social prescribing so widely known and understood, not just nationally but globally. Her commitment to the Network has been incredible, especially in delivering the annual conferences, building international relationships and ensuring the evidence base for social prescribing, through research, continues to grow. I certainly have very big shoes to fill.
I am very excited to be continuing this journey for the network, with Michael and the other steering group members and we look forward to hearing from you all as to “what matters to you” in terms of the future of social prescribing and where our efforts next need to be focused, to support you.
As usual, the team will be taking August a little slower after what has already been a jam-packed year so our next newsletter will be in September.