Get involved: top tips for social prescribing day

Social prescribing is a key part of the NHS long term plan and universal personalised care. It is a way of enabling people to have access to the right support for their wellbeing and social needs through referral to a listening and non-judgemental expert called a link worker; who listens to what matters to them in order to help them identify their own solutions. Save the date, 8th July is #linkworkerday19, a day to celebrate link workers- A.KA listening experts.

March 14 is a day to raise public awareness of social prescribing. Whether you an individual or an organisation, you can do something to raise awareness within your network and community.

Here are 5 ideas to get involved:

Get involved on social media using #socialprescribingday

Give free talks at community events or within your network

Host online/in person live events. You can do this yourself or in partnership with others

Hold an Information stall

Create and distribute pamphlets

Examples of where to raise awareness:

Libraries

Social media

Local newspapers and radio

Your network (friends, family, colleagues )

Local community groups

Schools

Sports club/Gym/ leisure centres

Local businesses/organisations

GP surgeries

Hospitals

Newsletters

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For further information
Social prescribing day

NHS England

Link worker network

National Association of Link Workers responds to NHS Long Term Plan

We welcome the commitment to link workers in the NHS Long Term Plan ‘over 1,000 trained social prescribing link workers will be in place by the end of 2020/21 rising further by 2023/24’; especially as 8 July 2019 is link worker day, a day to celebrate and showcase the link worker profession to coincide with our flagship annual link worker success conference.

Key requirements for setting link workers training and link workers up for success.

1) The role of a link worker needs to be correctly understood by all.

2) To be successful in social prescribing link working, a link worker needs to have what we call the ‘link worker effect’:

–          Right personality

–          Right skills

–          Right knowledge

–          Right practice

Our code of practice for link workers will be launched at our conference on 8th July 2019.

3) Training should NOT be a ‘tick box’ exercise and should be linked to a career progression path. The training should help link workers carry out their role effectively. Link workers should NOT be under-trained in the core competencies that directly relates to their day to day role.

4) Link worker equity and fairness in pay should not be dependant on whether employed by a statutory or non statutory organisation; it should be based on the role responsibilities. Link workers are currently underpaid in relation to other similar roles; perhaps fuelled by a lack of understanding of the role complexities.

5) Employers need to enable positive link worker wellbeing, so link workers role model social prescribing and influence clients positively.

6) Manageable link worker workload. Over 1,000 is a good start but it is definitely not enough; waitlists are in operation in some schemes. Also, high staff turnover due to link worker burn out is becoming an issue. There are great examples of how patient participation groups are supporting paid link workers in order to manage workload; the role of volunteers in social prescribing needs to be recognised and supported.

Questions, enquiries and comments are welcome, please email info@connectlink.org