Key care farming organisations and networks

We've collated some important organisations and peer support networks that could be useful for care farmers.  

1. Local Infrastructure Organisations 

Local Infrastructure Organisations are third sector organisations who support the work of other groups in the local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector. They are the voice of the local third sector, providing their members with a range of services and development support. Examples of these types of organisations are a local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), a volunteer centre, local Voluntary Action provider or specialist local support and development organisation. 

Most LIOs are members of the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA). The NAVCA website has an interactive map to help you find and contact your local infrastructure organisation. 

2. Existing green networks 

We are aware of several care farming, green care and green social prescribing peer networks in areas across England, but there could be more out there. If you enjoy networking in your local area but haven't got a local network, you could consider starting one in your area. 

3. DEFRA Green Social Prescribing Test & Learn projects 

Green social prescribing means linking people to nature-based activities such as care farming and green care.The UK government, NHS England, NHS Improvement, Sport England and the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) have announced investment for preventing and tackling mental ill-health through green social prescribing. 

Through social prescribing, GPs and healthcare professionals can refer people to link workers, who give people time and focus on what matters to them. For some people this will be green social prescribing, nature-based interventions and activities such as local walking for health schemes, community gardening and food-growing projects.

Find out more about green social prescribing on our website or visit NHS England for a list of test sites and more information about the project.

4. Integrated Care Systems (ICS) 

Integrated Care Systems plan heath and care services to meet the needs of their local area. They include providers and commissioners of NHS services local authorities and local partners. Find out more about ICS on our website or visit NHS England

5. National Academy of Social Prescribing 

NASP is dedicated to the advancement of social prescribing through promotion, collaboration and innovation. The organisation creates cross-sector partnerships to promote health and wellbeing at a national and local level. They champion social prescribing and the work of local communities in connecting people for wellbeing.

NASP runs programmes including:

  • Thriving Communities Programme - a national support programme for voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups, supporting communities impacted by COVID19 in England, working alongside social prescribing link workers.  
  • Learning Together programme - provides opportunities to share learning, gain new ideas, access funding and develop partnerships on a more local level for any organisations interested in starting to deliver, or increasing their capacity to deliver social prescribing activities. There are seven Regional Leads for England and an online network

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Care farming and social prescribing

Social prescribing is sometimes known as community referral. It is how health care professionals can refer people to local non-clinical services in their area, including care farms and green care. 

Integrated Care Systems and care farming

The UK healthcare system is always evolving. It can be hard to keep pace but it's useful for care farmers and green care providers to understand how it works.  

Practical support for care farming

We encourage anyone developing a care farm to work towards our Green Care Quality Mark. Find out how the Mark can help you.