Finding ways to play our part in helping houses become homes, streets become communities and goals become realities.
On Wednesday evening I had the great pleasure of being the guest host for the social prescribing hour twitter chat which is brought to the twittershere by the team at Elemental. It was a great experience and whilst I’m used to taking part in our own monthly Bromford Lab twitter chats, I still found myself nervously anticipating the first question and spent the next hour (or two) frantically juggling three browser tabs, each showing a different twitter view.
Hosting #SocialPresHour gave me the opportunity to share some of the learning from the social prescribing test Bromford ran in partnership with Elemental and the West Midlands Combined Authority last summer, but more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to chat with other people with an interest in social prescribing and take inspiration from some of the great things that are happening out there.
Reflecting on the conversation, it feels like an exciting time for social prescribing at the moment. Partnerships are being formed and teams are starting to work across sectors to deliver their own interpretations of what for me boils down to helping people form connections which improve their lives in some way.
People don’t define themselves by their GP, council, landlord or mortgage provider; they define themselves by relationships and interests. We therefore, need to completely flip our view of the world. If we are talking about supporting communities, we have to find and go to the places where communities are made - pubs, cafes, libraries, play groups; because those are our real community assets and so are the people within them. There is so much going on in our communities already, so many skills and shared interests. The problem is sometimes people don't know what’s there. That’s where I believe anyone involved in community work can play a key role in social prescribing.
We know from experience that ‘doing to people’ or ‘doing for people’ doesn't really work in the long run. The best outcomes are achieved by ‘working with people’ to help them find their own solution; facilitating connections and nurturing self-sustaining reciprocal relationships within communities and most importantly moving out of the way when we are no longer needed. That’s the model we’ve been developing at Bromford in the form of our localities approach to neighbourhood coaching.
If collectively we can move away from models of rationed transactions and move towards models of self-sustaining networks, who knows what great things that might bring?
Thank you to everyone who contributed on the night. You’ve left me with lots of food for thought! If you missed it, you can check out the whole conversation from last Wednesday’s social prescribing hour by following these threads:
If you’re interested in social prescribing, don’t forget you can join the #SocialPresHour conversation on Wednesday evenings between 8pm and 9pm - The next one is on 24th April.
Cover Image: National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)