Reimagining Social Prescribing: Roundtable Discussions with The Ubele Initiative – Part 3

This roundtable covers building relationships and networks in social prescribing.

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.

This roundtable took place on January 11, virtually. Our aim was to understand what is required to build and develop strong relationships and networks. This is to support the delivery of social prescribing activities, and their accessibility and effectiveness for communities.

Part one included details from our first roundtable ‘The Language and business of social prescribing’. In part two, we discussed resourcing social prescribing activities, including financial support, capacity building and developing an infrastructure for growth.

What does ‘building relationships and networks in social prescribing’ look like for your organisation?

A woman sitting on a bench having a video phone call.

We need more opportunities to be able to share our experiences in safe spaces.

Soon into our third discussion, it became clear that the answers to our main questions were being demonstrated. Attendees who were able to join the table asked questions about social prescribing and receiving peer-to-peer support.

We heard and shared stories of how they learned more about social prescribing. We also explored what had worked for their organisations to establish a voice in the sector and express views on what their concerns were. It is clear that we need more opportunities to come together and to share, in safe spaces, with people who may share similar lived experiences.

What role do partnerships play in providing social prescribing activities?

During the roundtable, one organisation shared how they tried to connect with public health partners so they can develop ideas together.  They were also keen to build relationships and potential partnerships with other organisations that could support their activity delivery. For example, a food growing organisation may actively build relationships with other growers and nature activity providers to reach and support their beneficiaries collaboratively.

What networks are you currently part of to better understand what is happening within social prescribing?

“It’s really hard to put forward ideas when you’re not at the table”.  

One attendee shared how being a social prescriber allowed them more of a seat at the table:

“It’s really hard to put forward ideas when you’re not at the table”.  

Other attendees felt that some of the challenges felt by grassroots organisations could be solved. If there were more initiatives led by a community of people from relevant backgrounds to the problems, they could contribute solutions.

Generally, some were connected to their local CVS, one attendee was familiar with Thriving Communities and some part of our London Social Prescribing Network. Aside from this, they were not aware of other Social Prescribing networking groups.

Where would you go if you needed support in developing the work you do as a provider of social prescribing activities? 

There was a mixture of responses, generally. Social prescribing was a term that many in this roundtable were still unsure about. Outside of connecting with the London Social Prescribing Network, some attendees said they’d reach out to their existing networks for assistance with their queries.

Others said they would search social media (Twitter being preferred) and talk to their local council and local CVS. It was suggested that there is a need for more safe places for Black and Minoritised groups to come together to discuss social prescribing. Without this, they may not have heard of social prescribing, know who to go to for support or understand that their work could be seen as a non-medical intervention (a social prescribing activity/service).

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 and the second blog 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.