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Social Prescribing Referral Form

Social Prescribing Referral Form

Bury VCFA Social Prescribing
Beacon Service

Social Prescribing in Bury is Changing

Over the past four years, the Beacon Service has run a successful social prescribing service across Bury supporting around a thousand individuals each year to access a choice of non-medical services and activities in their local area. This success was made possible via funding and partnership working with the Primary Care Networks and GP surgeries in the borough.

During this time there have also been significant developments in the broader role of GP surgeries in providing personalised care to residents including the role of social prescribing. This has included in some areas, employing additional link workers within GP surgeries to meet demand. Following a review of the current offer, it has been agreed that Bury’s social prescribing offer should be harmonised under one umbrella led by the Bury GP Federation.

From the 31st of March 2024, the Beacon Service will be moving over to Bury GP Federation as part of a refreshed social prescribing service.

For existing clients, the change will be minimal as you will still be working with the same friendly team for as long as you need; but to ensure a smooth transition, the Beacon Service will stop taking new referrals on the 23rd of February 2024.  From 24th February to 31st March, only staff in GP practices will be able to refer into the programme and residents seeking social prescribing support should contact their GP surgery. Self-referrals and partner referrals will restart on the 1st of April 2024, and individuals are advised to visit www.burygpfederation.com for further information or email nwch.sp-pwpcn@nhs.net

Dave Mayren, PCN Development Manager from Bury GP Federation, says:

“Health and wellbeing is impacted by a range of factors and people sometimes need additional support than that traditionally provided via General Practice. Social Prescribing helps connect people with groups and services in their communities, supporting them with a range of aspects of their lives. We know that in Bury the benefits of social prescribing, realising improvements in the lives of residents and reductions in the pressures on Primary Care, are tangible. We look forward to welcoming the experienced staff from the Beacon Service to join our existing team, working together to develop our social prescribing offer to the residents of Bury.”

Dr Kiran Patel, Medical Director of Bury GP Federation, said:

“The benefit to patients, and indeed the wider team, in having the social prescribing service has proven invaluable.  We are thrilled to bring our social prescribing team under one roof so we can be better placed to offer a truly person-centred approach to support the improvement of the health and wellbeing of our patients.”

For any further queries please contact nwch.sp-pwpcn@nhs.net

What is it?

The Bury VCFA Social Prescribing Beacon Service connects anyone registered with GP and aged over 18yrs to access a whole range of groups and organisations providing activities across the Bury area.

Venn Diagram saying NHS Resources and Services - Social Prescribing - Community Resources and ServicesOur experienced Link Workers’ use their local knowledge to make connections to activities that match individuals and their needs and interests. Whether it is socialising, physical exercise or access to creative activities and hobbies, social prescribing is essential promoting better self-care and significantly increased health and wellbeing.

The term ‘social prescribing’ is used to describe a service which supports people to access a choice of non-medical services and activities in their local area. Although we give independent advice and support we are a funded part of Primary Care and work closely with GP surgeries and Primary Care Networks.

Since our inception in January 2020, the Bury VCFA Beacon Service have supported over 3000 clients to access support and activities in communities across Bury.

What we do

The Beacon Service helps improve an individual’s wellbeing by connecting them to support with around 1200 charitable groups of all sizes across Bury. Our comprehensive volunteering service also provides numerous opportunities to get involved in your community, make friends and learn new skills. 

Our connections to activities include social events, mental health support and physical activities. Our aim is to address social, economic and environmental factors affecting people’s health, where medication alone is unlikely to provide a sustainable improvement.

We take a localised approach to cater for the needs of our clients, our Link Workers are based in the following areas: Bury East, Bury West, Bury North, Prestwich and Whitefield, to make connections to activities and groups in all areas of Bury.

Social Prescribing Model Diagram

What we do

The Beacon Service helps improve an individual’s wellbeing by connecting them to support with around 1200 charitable groups of all sizes across Bury. Our comprehensive volunteering service also provides numerous opportunities to get involved in your community, make friends and learn new skills. 

Our connections to activities include social events, mental health support and physical activities. Our aim is to address social, economic and environmental factors affecting people’s health, where medication alone is unlikely to provide a sustainable improvement.

We take a localised approach to cater for the needs of our clients, our Link Workers are based in the following areas: Bury East, Bury West, Bury North, Prestwich and Whitefield, to make connections to activities and groups in all areas of Bury.

What does this Involve?

Once we receive a referral they will be assigned to one of our Link Workers who will make an initial telephone call to discuss any support needs and interests. 

Initial contact involves development of a wellbeing plan based on what matters to the individual, for example Link Workers will explore potential community groups and activities which meet their interests and provide a person centred approach to bring out the best of individuals interests and needs.

We recognise attending a new activity can be daunting. We work flexibly and if needed can offer multiple appointments to support and explore any barriers to attendance, such as anxiety, and formulate a plan to reduce this.

Once they have engaged with an organisation we will review if this has been beneficial and consider if there is any further support we can offer.

In supporting individuals to access community groups we hope to:

Connect

Connect you with new friends so you feel less isolated.

Improve

Improve your mental wellbeing

Increase

Increase your physical activity

Control

Put you in control of your own health and wellbeing

Who We Support

We support people who are:

  • Aged 18+
  • Registered with a Bury GP
  • Is a Bury Resident
  • Willing to engage with the programme and be supported

This service is voluntary and if a patient is not ready to be supported we may not be able to accept the referral

Areas of Support

  • Clear navigation and simple access
  • Wide range of support services in the VCSE.
  • greater control of their own health
  • Improve in mental health and wellbeing
  • Involvement in the community
  • Learn new skill or participate in a new activity
  • Increase self- confidence and self esteem
  • Better quality of life

Who we can help/Reasons for Referrals

The Beacon service uses knowledge and connections to over 1200 voluntary and community groups and organisations to encourage better self-care and to develop the skills and knowledge to increase mental and physical wellbeing

Here are examples of issues that we may be able to help with.

  • Low Self-esteem/Confidence
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Life events e.g. bereavement,
  • Long-term health conditions
  • Anxiety due to issues such as housing Finance, work or relationships

To refer please fill in our referral form and email this to beaconservice@buryvcfa.org.uk please also note GPs can refer via Vision.

Our Service

We offer remote and face-to-face support to cater to individual needs and can meet with individuals in a range of venues across the borough.

The Beacon Service is uniquely positioned in Bury and has connections to over 500 voluntary groups across the borough. This means we can connect individuals to 1000’s of community-based activities focused on someone’s individual interests whether that’s:

    • Volunteering
    • Social Activities inc befriending support
    • Leisure activities including physical activity, walking or gardening
    • Creative and arts-based activities
    • Emotional Wellbeing Support
    • Welfare benefits and financial support

Ultimately providing a service as unique as the individuals that we are working with!

For more information, please get in touch with Bury VCFA Beacon Service by calling 0161 518 5550 or you can email us at beaconservice@buryvcfa.org.uk

Beacon Service Impact

Since our inception in January 2020, the Bury VCFA Beacon Service has supported over 3000 clients to access support and activities in communities across Bury.

The social prescribing team found that 80% of referrals found themselves visiting their GP and/or the Hospital less frequently after speaking to a social prescribing link worker.

90% of people that speaking to a link worker had a positive impact on their lives and 80% of referrals now felt more optimistic about the future.

Top reasons for referral include, loneliness and isolation, better mental wellbeing and access to physical activities to improve physical wellbeing, all support is tailored to the needs of the individual

Nathan is a 58-year-old male who was referred to the Beacon Service as he was experiencing low mood, anxiety, he was isolated and was feeling stuck.
Nathan had lived on the streets for 6 years after he experienced what he describes as a mental health breakdown. He had previously had 3 suicide attempts but is now in his own property and resides with his daughter who is also his carer.
One of our link workers supported Nathan over a 6-month period and worked on reducing his anxiety and building his confidence leaving his home.
Nathan has now taken control of his own finances and is managing to run his home independently, without the high level of support he was receiving from his daughter.
He has also started attending the gym twice a week and is finding the exercise and meditation has decreased his anxiety levels and helped him gain confidence to speak to new people.
Nathan has been offered a volunteering opportunity at Bury Hospice Warehouse and is actively looking for voluntary driving opportunities, he’s enrolled on a computer course to enhance his IT skills and to gain more confidence filling out application forms.
Since the support Nathan has not experienced any suicidal ideations and has stated that “I feel like a new man, and feel excited about my future and that I have a purpose”.

Louise was referred to the Beacon Service with a number of support needs and medical problems –
When we initially spoke to her it was clear that she had limited knowledge of groups and services in Bury as her daughter in law who is one of her carers lived outside the borough and was not familiar with the area.
After our initial consultation our link worker was able to provide a number of suggestions to local support groups/services including telephone numbers and web links, which would enable the family to support their elderly parents.
The ‘local’ information provided to the client’s daughter in law was targeted to enable her to support her family and herself. This approach proved to be successful as during our follow up appointments our link worker discovered ALL suggestions and links had been actioned and she had followed up the local connections provided.
Louise was able to access some of the following services, including Bury Carers centre, Blue Badge information, transport for Greater Manchester – Ring and Ride, Dementia helpline, local library – (for book delivery)and the Borrow Box app, connections to local Dementia groups and practical support like getting rails fitted.
Louise and her Family were pleased with the support they received as she stated, ‘I would not have known where to start’, you made the ‘job’ so easy. Thank you – especially the carers hub contact who provided support and a small grant to enable the carers to ‘go away’ to the Lake District for a weekend of respite.

H was referred to Beacon Service as he was experiencing social isolation
H has carers twice a day, his family live in Qatar H stated he was becoming increasingly isolated and wished to connect with a local community group, upon his initial telephone assessment H was not sure how and what he could connect to, we explored the range of groups offered around his local area and chatted about the Ramsbottom Anglers Fishing group at the Lido.
H was very interested in this group but was afraid that due to him using his mobility scooter he may struggle to access the group. After contact with Ramsbottom Anglers, they were happy to support H in adapting to his needs. Beacon Service-connected H to the group, H stated he had always wanted to try fishing and was delighted he had now found a new hobby that has allowed him to connect to his local community and meet new people. H had also attended Bury VCFA volunteer towards employment project, he had applied for numerous jobs but was unfortunately not successful, with support and encouragement H now volunteers for Bury VCFA social media support twice a week.
H wellbeing has now improved, and he no longer feels isolated, H continues to connect to the fishing group and has stated he has met some very nice people. H is enjoying his new role as a social media volunteer and is meeting new members of staff on the days he attends, this has given H more confidence, improving his mental health and well-being.

Amanda is almost fully blind and is also struggling with her hearing. She has regular contact with her carers coming in 3 times daily to ensure she is taking correct medication.
I met with Amanda and we explored potential activities that she could engage with, taking into account her needs and circumstances, we took time to discuss any potential barriers to accessing groups and activities.
I was made aware of additional challenges with her accessing her GP practice as she is unable to access the building and she really needed to discuss her hearing aids which she is having some issues with.
I encouraged her to speak to her GP practice about this concern or I could do it on her behalf.
As a result Amanda spoke to her GP practice who have since organised a hearing assessment to be carried out in the comfort of her own home. Obviously was a great outcome for her and she admitted that she’d have not even considered that this would have been possible.
I asked if she’d be interested in a referral to Jigsaw as they have a befriending service and luncheon club. Jigsaw befrienders can also accompany service users to the luncheon club. She was really happy with this as it would go some way to help her get back out into the community.
She stated that she was very grateful for our interventions and enjoyed meeting our Beacon Buddy Volunteer Anna and feels a lot more independent.

Rachel was suffering from low level mental health and felt very isolated. She used to be a very active person and wanted more structure to her week
We supported the referral to add structure to her week and eventually found ourselves exploring volunteering.
After several calls we decided to meet face to face so we could look more in-depth at the volunteering opportunities available and support the referral to complete the volunteering forms. The referral registered her interest with The Creative Living Centre and Bury Adult Learning Centre.
Bury Adult Learning have already been back in touch with a very positive response and the referral is set to start her journey back to volunteering and the hope is this will give her the structure she was after and something to look forward to each week.
We discussed becoming a beacon buddy further down the line as she was keen to explore how to support others. She mentioned this is something of interest to her but didn’t want to take on too much too soon’.

As family of James, I just want to say a massive thank you for all your input and support. A has said how you made him feel comfortable enough to talk about his past housing situations which he found difficult due to embarrassment, but you put him at ease. He’s told me of the help you have given regarding his benefits and pinpointing him to local services to help with his mental health. I have seen a real positive change in how James is talking about his future prospects and you have a lot to do with that. The job you do is outstanding and I can’t thank you enough for your help