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  • Building on existing successes in West Hove, an area vulnerable to COVID-19’s impact
  • Working with partners The Hangleton and Knoll Project, BHCC Active for Life, Citizens Advice and Brighton University
  • Tailored social prescribing boosted by £50k funding
  • Aligned with parallel CCG- and City Council-funded projects for long term impact
  • 100 residents will access social prescribing to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Creation of a community-owned model for increasing impact of Social prescribing in a deprived neighbourhood

West Hove is home to many innovative organisations doing great work in creativity and wellbeing. However, social prescribing is under used by GPs in the area. The Robin Hood Health Foundation and key community partners will use their £50k Thriving Communities funding to broaden social prescribing options through more varied range and content, as well as consolidate existing cross-sector programmes and amplify patient involvement. They will work with everyone from Brighton and Hove Libraries to South Downs National Park, and run activities that vary from photography walks to creative workshops, as well as encourage people to get out in the fresh air.

“Research shows that exercise, confidence-building activities, volunteering and arts and crafts provision are sorely wanted, but travel and cost are barriers. Key to addressing this are tailored social prescribing activities. The Thriving Communities Funding will enable us to reach more people, with an offering that works for them,” says Emma Drew from Hera

Prescribe To Thrive aims to see one hundred residents experience improved self-reported levels of physical and mental health and wellbeing; new social support and reduced isolation; improved access to finance and benefits support; increased access to creativity; higher awareness of available local activity; increased confidence to access opportunities; reduced GP appointments; and reduced use of unneeded medication. It will all come through an increased uptake in social prescribing.

The project is backed by some great experience. Lead organisation The Robin Hood Health Foundation of the Hera Partnership has delivered arts-led participatory health and wellbeing programmes since 2014. They led the East Hove COVID Support Group for 600 shielding patients, support HCPs with three link workers, and deliver training in arts, health and creativity for resilience to GPs. They are part of The Hera Partnership along with Creative Future, The Old Market and Diversity & Ability. Funded for three years by Brighton & Hove City Council, it has four strands: professionally led creative participation for those living with ongoing health concerns; professional development for arts and health practitioners; accessibility and diversity training; and exhibitions and performances to raise awareness of the benefits of creativity on health and wellbeing.

Working closely with the community and the Hangleton and Knoll project, the project will receive referrals from various organisations, and self-referrals. The focus will be on responding to local residents’ priorities by using co-design principles, developing a networking referral pathway system, and testing it with activities. Place-based partnerships will be crucial for identifying priorities and responding to them.

There are many challenges in the area. Residents face higher COVID vulnerabilities than other localities in the region, including six times greater risk from death from the disease. This is on top of the highest heart failure and diabetes rates in the locality, higher incidence of depression, high food vulnerability and hardship scores, a high percentage of impoverished pensioners and a significant proportion of children in unemployed families.

It’s not only individuals who will benefit. The hope is that by aligning with other creative agencies artists disproportionately impacted by COVID will also see rewards. It’s also about making it easy for GPs and HCPs to use social prescribing. Briefing and taster sessions, information resources, and clear and simple videos and guidelines will encourage further take up of social prescribing.

It will all be aligned with parallel CCG- and City Council-funded projects that are being developed through the HKP supported West Area Health Forum and through Hera, including annual health checks for patients with learning disabilities; establishing a community-based pilot site of first contact mental health practitioners; and peer led health improvement projects.

The work undertaken as a result of the Thriving Communities Fund will increase the take up of social prescribing, by demonstrating value and impact, and establish an evidence base for use not only in Hove but beyond.


For the full list of partners, projects and funding visit