Reimagining Social Prescribing: Roundtable Discussions with The Ubele Initiative – Part 2

The Ubele Initiative, in collaboration with London Plus and the National Academy of Social Prescribing’s (NASP) Thriving Communities Programme, ran a series of three roundtables to explore what social prescribing looks like in Black and Minoritised communities.

Part 1 in this series includes details on the reasons why we are holding these conversations, attendees, as well as highlights from our first roundtable: ‘The Language and business of Social Prescribing’.

This roundtable took place on December 9th 2021, virtually. The aim of this roundtable was to understand how Social Prescribing activities are being resourced as well as what resources are needed to grow. This included discussing financial support, support with capacity building and developing an infrastructure for growth.

How are social prescribing activities currently being funded?

Our first question was to understand what pathways were being used by the group to access funding. Social Prescribing activities were mainly being funded via Council Funding, NHS Funding via primary care networks and small grants from national organisations.

It was identified that one borough has allocated a small funding pot for delivering Social Prescribing activities. These are for services provided to specific neighbourhoods within the borough (if the identified area was a priority area).

Whilst there was one borough highlighted as supporting the delivery of Social Prescribing activities via the third sector and the money seemed to be following the patient, the attendee was aware that this funding pot was only accessible to a small core group of organisations.

There was a desire from the group for other boroughs to have a similar approach, one where money is ring-fenced for Social Prescribing activities and where the money follows the patient.

Some attendees felt they needed to be more creative with accessing funding. Creative fundraising included contacting housing developments, Football clubs, identifying and contacting local organisations who want to support the community directly with proposals.

Others had used crowdfunding sites successfully. Amongst the group, no one had any core funding and all needed to access funding on a project-by-project basis, some acting as unpaid staff in order to maintain services.

What has your experience been when accessing funding?

Experiences shared for those who have attempted accessing funding from their local councils, small grants or national organisations felt it was challenging. Some mentioned that their local authority was opting to support a select group of core establishments leaving them feeling excluded from the opportunity to access funding.

Others identified the need to access money via existing consortiums (who were able to come together as a collective and access funding on behalf of the community) as they felt they didn’t have the track record to apply directly.

In addition, one participant felt that Black seniors were being reached due to assumptions being made about their personal health budgets. This attendee felt looking at population profiles could help remove assumptions about the personal health budget of Black and Minoritised groups so they do not miss out on accessing support.

In addition to funding, what support is needed in the sector to help you thrive?

The delivery of social prescribing activities, such as art workshops, must be resourced with funding.

There was a range of support needed outside of financial support.  Some participants explained that growing a team could mean having someone dedicated to finding funding opportunities and applying.

Having someone to support with general administration. Consultation with developing a board, setting up a business & incorporating the business, ensuring the right policies are in place as well as support with opening up a bank account.

A participant shared a story of how some people within the community may need extra guidance to get their systems in place, step-by-step support is needed for help with growing an existing business and that sometimes not understanding the requirements needed to access support.

Another participant expressed a need for access to Free legal advice and good lawyers who can support cases with short notice, especially for those working with vulnerable people in the community.

Resources and More

For more information and support, please see the links below.

Visit the London Social Prescribing Network Homepage to join our network.

See the first blog in our Roundtable series here.

Visit the Ubele Initiative’s website and subscribe to their mailing list.

BAYO is a space to find collectives, organisations and services across the UK run by The Ubele Initiative, with and for the Black community, to support mental health and wellbeing.