Bury Social Prescribing Service
VCFA Beacon Service

What is it?

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

Our 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 Beacon Service is independent and not part of the NHS, however we do work in partnership with our local NHS especially GP surgeries and Primary Care Networks.
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.

So far we have supported almost 2000 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.

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

Our Service

  • Access to over 500 VCSE groups on our database
  • 100’s of Volunteering Opportunities
  • 1000’s of community based activities e.g.
    • Social Clubs e.g. Lunch
    • Leisure activities – e.g. walking, gardening
    • Arts, culture and creative activities
    • Befriending and support groups.
    • Welfare benefits and financial support
    • Emotional wellbeing

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

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

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.

Social Prescribing during post COVID

We are now offering both remote and face to face support to cater for individual needs. For more information, please contact Bury VCFA Beacon Service by calling 0161 518 5550 or you can email us at beaconservice@buryvcfa.org.uk

Beacon Service Impact

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

The Impact on the Person

Feels more in control and able to manage their own health and wellbeing
Is more physically active
Is better able to manage practical issues, such as debt, housing and mobility
Is more connected to others and less isolated or less lonely

The Impact on the Person

Feels more in control and able to manage their own health and wellbeing
Is more physically active
Is better able to manage practical issues, such as debt, housing and mobility
Is more connected to others and less isolated or less lonely

The Impact on the Community

More volunteers engaged in Social Prescribing
More VCF groups involved in Social Prescribing
Funding secured to build capacity and/or sustainability

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being Personal Stories

Rebecca is an essential and valued member of our MDT, and over the last 7 months we have all really grown to appreciate just how much Radcliffe needs social prescribers like them. The VCFA attend all our meetings and provide a crucial role in developing our person-centred approach, working jointly with other services to make difference to people’s lives – whether through volunteering, employment or simply being there for them. The work they have done so far has been fantastic. Thanks!”

JamesBury West/Radcliffe

Having something to help and support you when you don’t know where to start looking is great

Service User

Thank you for connecting me with supporting sisters. I’m loving chatting on the phone and messaging people. I’m joining a zoom meeting next week and it makes me feel so happy

Service User

I am feeling more positive knowing I am able to get out. Just knowing what is on is great, it gives me options and something to do other than to just sit in the house all day

PaulWhitefield

I was completely unware of community support available in Bury prior to speaking to Hannah. I’m so grateful for the support to connect me to a group it has had a huge positive impact on my physical and mental wellbeing

HannahHorizons

‘I would not be here speaking to you if you had not been there’.
‘Thank you for everything you have done, I have been suffering and no one has helped me’.

NazBury East

‘I would not be here speaking to you if you had not been there’.
‘Thank you for everything you have done, I have been suffering and no one has helped me’.

TracyHorizons

‘Rebecca you can have 10 out of 10, you made me and my son feel so comfortable and I am so surprised he opened up to you. I feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel’.
‘Thank you so much for encouraging me to attend groups, before I just used to sit at home and worry about what people thought of me. I can’t believe that I now attend the gym twice a week, go swimming, bowling and have the confidence to talk to new people’.

RebeccaBury West

‘Rebecca is so easy to talk to and she really listens to you. I have started making more referrals to Beacon Service and think it’s a really good service.’

Dr Vaughn

For more information, please contact the Beacon Service by calling 0161 518 5550 or you can email us at beaconservice@buryvcfa.org.uk