Citizens Advice Ipswich celebrates National Social Prescribing Day


Citizens Advice Ipswich celebrates National Social Prescribing Day

National Social Prescribing Day on Thursday 14 March is being marked by the three social prescribing teams based at Citizens Advice Ipswich. Connect for Health Ipswich, REACT and the Long Covid support teams will be enjoying chocolates and other goodies as a way of saying thank you for their dedication to the people in the Ipswich area.

Social Prescribing Day is an annual celebration of the people, organisations and communities who make social prescribing happen and to highlight the impact of social prescribing on people and communities.

Many things that affect our health cannot be treated by doctors or medicine alone, like loneliness, isolation or stress due to problems with debt or housing. Social prescribers help people explore what matters to them and what they can do themselves to improve their wellbeing and health. The Teams connect people to non-medical support to address these issues and other unmet needs as well as helping them with employment, housing and benefits problems.

Connect for Health Ipswich Team Leader Emily Bergstrom said: “National Social Prescribing Day is a great chance for me just to say a massive thank you to the team who have worked incredibly hard to support the Ipswich public through difficult times, with the aftermath of the pandemic and cost of living crises which have all had an affect on people’s health and wellbeing and so have increased the demand on our services. I am so proud of what we have achieved.”

The REACT Team exists to avoid admissions into hospital by supporting people to access help and equipment to be able to recover at home, with support from teams across health and social care. REACT Team Leader, Justin Ostler said: “Our team together with colleagues from many other organizations, have worked tirelessly to make sure people referred to us have what they need to deal with their physical and mental health without having to go into hospital. This can be as simple as a hospital bed, or applying for state benefits to cover loss of earnings.”

The Long Covid Ipswich team also support clients with urgent issues – charitable support is on the increase due to financial hardship clients are facing. The team supports people with Long Covid to make applications for benefits, both disability & means tested and advises them on employment issues.

Long Covid Lead Sue Kennedy said: “The team have supported over 300 clients living with Long Covid.  Long Covid can affect anyone of any age and we have seen people whose lives have effectively come to a halt because of the broad range of symptoms and witness daily the profound impact this has on individuals and their families. We have endeavoured to help clients navigate issues from benefits, income maximization, housing, employment and social isolation.  As Social Prescribers we have been a conduit for emotional support and Wellbeing as well.”

Chief Officer Nicky Willshere said: “Our partnerships with organisations across Ipswich and beyond to get the support people need to stay or get back to good health has become central to our service.

“I would like to extend my personal thanks to the Social Prescribing Teams here at Citizens Advice Ipswich.”

But the last word must come from a client: “The groups I was connected with have been helpful, but the support and feeling ‘listened to’ have been amazing. The adviser helped me be positive and brave when I need to.”