Could you volunteer?
Social prescribing helps hundreds of people across Bassetlaw every year, but without the help of volunteers much of this invaluable work would simply not be possible.
Social prescribers – or link workers are they are often called – give people time to focus on themselves and consider ‘what really matters’ to them.
Thursday 9th March is the national day for social prescribing, and as such is a great time for people who might be able to help at one of the many groups and organisations across the district that provide this support to get involved.
An example of how social prescribing can positively impact on a person’s life is a recent referral that came in to Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service’s (BCVS) Social Prescribing team. The patient had been struggling with their finances and mental health for quite some time but did not know where to turn. A friend of theirs, who had also recently been supported by the social prescribing team, told them about the service and encouraged them to seek the support available.
Once connected with a social prescriber, the patient was referred to Bassetlaw Citizen’s Advice for financial advice and given help to complete a household budget plan which will help them manage their income in the future.
They were also supported with a food parcel from Bassetlaw Food Bank, and the patient has started volunteering at Oasis Community Centre community garden, which is benefiting their mental health.
The patient is very grateful for all the support and said: “I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to help me.”
If it was not for the volunteers who help to keep places like Bassetlaw Citizen’s Advice, Oasis Community Centre, Bassetlaw Food Bank and hundreds of other local charities going, then this level of personalised support would not be possible.
Bassetlaw Place Clinical Director Dr Eric Kelly said: “People might visit their GP because they are stressed about work or money, or because they feel lonely and isolated, however these problems can’t be fixed by medicine alone.
“Social prescribing aims to support people with a range of social, emotional or practical needs while improving their mental health and physical wellbeing. It’s about connecting people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.
“Volunteering with these invaluable organisations also brings many benefits, such as social interaction, a sense of purpose and the satisfaction you feel in helping someone in real need.”
Social prescribers maintain an up-to-date awareness of the wide range of local community and local groups that are here to support the Bassetlaw community and individual people in need.
Becky Law, Head of Service, BCVS added “Social Prescribing in Bassetlaw is part of an extremely well connected and supportive voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, all working together to provide non-medical support to local people.
“Our Social Prescribing Link Worker team take the time with patients to discuss the key issues that are impacting their wellbeing and then connect them with the support, advice and interaction offered by groups and organisations in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire and on a wider footprint.
How to get involved
“We also cross refer to the young people’s link worker employed by Centre Place whenever appropriate as part of the VCSE centred model of social prescribing in Bassetlaw. This might be help accessing benefits, debt and welfare advice or to address loneliness and isolation issues through participation with local activity groups.
“The groups and organisations the social prescribers are referring into need our support to continue to be able to provide the services that are so invaluable to improving the wellbeing of those in need. If you can lend your support and commit some time to volunteering that would make a real difference in our communities.”
In addition, social prescribers can provide information on a wide range of services for the whole family. In order to ensure we have the level of social prescribers that we need in Bassetlaw we need more volunteers.
If you would like to volunteer in Bassetlaw, please visit www.bcvs.org.uk/iwanttovolunteer for the opportunities currently available. If you can’t find something suitable please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01909 476 118 and BCVS will be able to help you find the perfect role for you.
If you feel you might benefit from seeking the support of a social prescriber please ask your local GP practice or contact BCVS.