Building a Better Health Service

Your Health

Social prescribing increases wellbeing

Social Prescribing increases well being

Social Prescribing empowers people to care for their own health and wellbeing, deepening the  links between community and medical care.  National Social Prescribing Day recently recognised the success of  local community groups and projects.  Celebrating the ongoing success of the service in the south east, they recently welcomed the extension of funding for the Sláintecare Integration Fund project including the expansion of Waterford Social Prescribing Service in Waterford into 2022.

Supported by HSE/South East Community Healthcare, the Waterford Social Prescribing Service works with adults who may be experiencing mental health difficulties, long term health conditions, social issues, loneliness and/or social isolation.

They provide health service providers and community workers with an opportunity to link people with non-medical sources of support within the community to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Service users are referred by GPs, Primary Care Teams, Medical and Social care professionals and through self-referrals.   

During the time the Waterford project received Sláintecare funding over 500 clients were referred.

According to Nicola Spendlove, Waterford City Social Prescribing Coordinator, they have “developed a wide range of linkages with appropriate services and supports and refer our service users to other community based supports such as ALONE, HSE Community Response Teams and the Living Well Programme."

One Service user spoke about his journey with social prescribing and how he was supported by the service to establish and run his own community chess group. Fiona Laffan, Waterford County Social Prescribing Coordinator, worked with another service user Ursula to link her in with computer classes and social activities such as group walks and coffee mornings, increasing her self confidence. Many other individuals across the Waterford community have reaped the benefits of their involvements with Waterford Social Prescribing Service. The bespoke signposting and support that the coordinators provide have enabled users of the service to achieve their social potential, and unlock the many health benefits of feeling like a valued member of one’s community.

Derval Howley, Head of Health and Wellbeing, HSE/South East Community Healthcare, noted that:

“Waterford Social Prescribing as the first service for the South East has demonstrated the wellbeing outcomes that can be achieved when the community and health sectors work together. We are delighted to now have a Social Prescribing Service in the five counties in the South East."

Based on their experience to date and feedback from health professionals the project has proposed an expansion to the future development of the service to include children and young people.

Watch this video to find out more.