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. 

Many voluntary and community sector organisations already informally signpost people on to services to support their health and wellbeing. Social prescribing is the formal name for this process, which has been adopted by the NHS as part of personalised care.

Health can be affected by many things including social, economic and environmental circumstances. The aim of social prescribing is to address people's needs in a more joined-up and holistic way. It's also thought that social prescribing can give people more control over their own health.

There are different types of social prescribing, but most involve a link worker. Link workers have different job titles in different areas, for example they can be called navigators or community connectors. Link workers are key contacts for care farms and green care providers because they connect people with defined needs to local services. Link workers also help existing community groups to be accessible, support new groups and work with local health care partners.

Find out more about social prescribing on the NHS England website

Green social prescribing

Green social prescribing is the term used specifically for linking people to nature-based activities such as care farming and green care.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the natural environment for mental and physical health, as well as the inequality of access to green space. 

The UK government announced investment in green social prescribing during 2020, with selected areas testing how green social prescribing can be embedded into communities to:

Selected areas are testing how green social prescribing can be embedded into communities to:

  • improve mental health outcomes 

  • reduce health inequalities 

  • reduce demand on the health and social care system 

  • develop best practice in making green social activities more resilient and accessible

Find out more about green social prescribing on the NHS England website. 

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