Social prescribing

We work with NHS colleagues to transform vacant indoor and outdoor space into vibrant community hubs to be used by voluntary and community organisations connected to social prescribing networks.

What is social prescribing?

The NHS Long Term Plan includes a focus on helping people stay healthier for longer and supporting community activities that help improve people’s wellbeing; the fitter, healthier and more socially connected we are, the less likely it is we’ll need to access our local GP or other health professionals.

The NHS is therefore developing social prescribing networks across the country. Patients with multiple complex needs are referred by their GP to social prescribing services where their needs can be assessed and appropriate community services can be recommended such as adult learning, employment support or activity groups to improve confidence or reduce isolation. 

Read our social prescribing examples, here.

Using the NHS estate to deliver effective social prescribing within the community

In her session at NHS Property 2021 in November, Rhea Horlock, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, explains how our social prescribing programme works and share some key learnings for others considering doing the same.

How can NHS Property Services help?

To help the NHS get the most from its estate and support delivery of the Long Term Plan, we work with NHS colleagues to identify and turn vacant space with no other immediate use into social prescribing hubs, and poor quality, unused outdoor space into green spaces including allotments, sensory and dementia gardens. In doing this, we are helping patients socialise, learn new skills and hopefully improve their overall wellbeing.

We strive to work as one joined-up team, collaborating with our NHS colleagues and creating strong local partnerships. We involve local communities in the design and work closely with CCGs to ensure the spaces really do help address local health and social needs.

Cast study: Transforming a vacant health centre floor for The Listening Place

Our Asset Management and Construction teams worked very closely with The Listening Place, a London based charity that supports those who feel like life is no longer worth living, North Central London CCG and London Borough of Camden to identify and refurbish vacant space that really supports the needs of those in the community.

We spoke to Laura Face, New Site Project Manager for The Listening Place to find out how the new site at Hunter Street Health Centre will impact their services.

Read the case study

Transforming green space in Birmingham

In 2021, we refurbished unused outdoor space at Neptune Health Park in Tipton, Birmingham, as it was very run down and attracted antisocial behaviour. We invested £60k to transform the space to create growing areas and a peaceful garden for the local recovery college to use.

The improved outdoor space will encourage positive social interaction and aim to improve the wellbeing of those that attend the college.

Do you have a suitable space?

If you have vacant space that you think would be suitable for social prescribing or would just like to discuss potential social prescribing sites for development within your area, please speak to your local NHSPS contact or contact our Customer Support Centre.

Contact us today

How to engage with social prescribing hubs in your area

We've developed a new social prescribing guide to help you learn more about our social prescribing hubs and the services they offer. You can find local services offered by the hubs, including baby banks, nutrition support and mental health support services, as well as information about how to refer patients.

Download brochure