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How community sport and physical activity can play
a bigger role in social prescribing

Support, training and mentoring programme for community sports providers such as clubs, social enterprises and community coaches on how to provide great community experiences

4 webinars and a full day conference

18th  February, 18th March, 5th April and 20th May 2021
and conference 8th July, University of Hertfordshire 

Social Prescribing Community Sports programme

Social prescribing is happening…
Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focused on improving mental health and physical wellbeing. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, people with complex needs, people who are socially isolated and those with multiple long-term conditions who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.

These groups have traditionally been less likely to be involved and engaged with community sports providers.

Schemes delivering social prescribing can involve a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.  

Social prescribing is being introduced in many countries, but New Zealand has been using, what they call, green prescriptions for encouraging patients to be active outdoors for decades. The scheme is implemented at the primary care level where a physician or nurse generally assess the needs of patients and provide tangible recommendations in a prescription.

In the UK there is an increasing focus on the issue and at the end of 2020 there are 1300 link workers, who work alongside GPs to steer the patients in the right direction of ab appropriate activity or service and the plan is to increase that number to 4500.
It also important to emphasise to community sports provides that social prescribing is often as much about mental health than physical health and this is not about getting more players to win the league but about attracting and welcoming people who want to become involved and engaged

A big opportunity for community sports providers to play a stronger role in their communities

Some traditional community sports clubs have not been ‘social prescribing ready’, but we also believe that several clubs have got the potential to play a much wider role in their communities.  They just need to be inspired and supported and to receive training and guidance.

We know from our research into social prescribing projects in the UK and Denmark that there are some wrong perceptions amongst some people involved with community sports clubs. Two are that a) participants are there to be ‘treated’ and b) the club volunteers are ‘not health workers’ so we must explain what social prescribing and what it involves for the clubs, in layman’s terms.

It also recommended that we encourage the clubs to appoint Ambassadors or Welcomers to ensure a welcoming reception and smooth pathway into the club. We also recommend that these should be people ‘who look like me’, so the newcomers feel they are being accepted.

A part of such a process involves engagement with social prescribing link workers, GPs and other health workers to highlight the important role that local community sports clubs can play in delivering social prescription projects. Presentations, meetings and social media could play an important role in that process.

Social prescribing by community sports providers has the potential to become a UK wide programme with multiple pathways, including corporate and self-referral mechanisms into community activities to improve physical and mental health. Such a scheme should be designed and developed with the health sector and relevant delivery and research partners, working with the Active Partnerships, governing bodies and CVS networks amongst others.

Webinars and conference – all useful, practical stuff

The four one-hour webinars will bring together anyone interested in developing a stronger network and skills base together with case studies and presentations from social prescribers culminating in a one-day conference (observing the COVID-restrictions at the time).

4 interactive and engaging webinars

Introduction to social prescribing and community sport

18th February 2021 10 am BST

How social prescribing can support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focused on improving mental health and physical wellbeing.
It also important to emphasise to community sports provides that social prescribing is often as much about mental health than physical health and this is not about getting more players to win the league but about attracting and welcoming people who want to become involved and engaged.  

This webinar will give participants key information on social prescribing and how link workers and community sports providers can work together

3 Webinars

Connecting Communities 1

18th March 10 am BST

How community sports and physical activity providers can engage and enable communities to be active, move more and get involved in sport.

Social prescribing in physical activity is already happening and here’s how. Various community sports providers are already delivering services for their communities and serving inactive and unengaged people. They often use innovative, yet simple, methods and solutions and make people feel really welcome and included. Often, they also attract more volunteers and community partners and become #MoreThanAClub and #MoreThanSport and they benefit greatly from that.

This webinar will provide participants with unique thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to connect with their communities

Connecting Communities 2

15th April, 10 am BST

Raising the profile of community sports and physical activity providers as places and partners for engaging with inactive and unengaged people

It has been claimed that community sports providers could, and should, be more involved with providing social prescribing services and that they are not visible enough with social prescribers.
So, there are great opportunities and scope for GPs and link workers to increase their awareness and engagement with local clubs and groups providing community sport and physical activity.

This webinar will highlight how social prescribers and link workers are already engaging with community sport and physical activity providers and how everybody is benefitting from that.

 

Connecting Communities 3

20th May, 10 am BST

Developing new partnerships and initiatives to engage more people in innovative ways.

Social prescribing by community sports providers has the potential to become a UK wide programme with multiple pathways, including corporate and self-referral mechanisms into community activities to improve physical and mental health. Such a scheme should be designed and developed with the health sector and relevant delivery and research partners, working with the Active Partnerships, governing bodies and CVS networks amongst others. But we could also benefit from developing partnerships with major retailers as they have community engagement, customers, branding and car parks and often employ Community Champions and with other community-focused businesses.

This webinar will give participants case-studies and ideas on how to take their social prescribing programme to a different level.