Social Prescribing Toolkit Information Pack
What is Social Prescribing?
Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
NIEL specifically view Social Prescribing in the context of the Environment and wider Heritage sector in Northern Ireland. NIEL, guided by the Green Recovery Health Working Group has been advocating for the environment in supporting human health and wellbeing, and seeking further collaboration and integration for health, voluntary, community, and environment sectors to expand the provision of Nature Based Treatments and Social Prescribing.
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Some of the benefits of Social Prescribing include;
- Positive mental and physical health benefits which come with exposure to nature including a reduction in cardiovascular disease
- Green spaces are associated with decreased natural-cause mortality
- Martin et al found that visiting nature once a week was associated with better health, and that nature connectedness was positively related to states of happiness and mental wellbeing
- Having green spaces in an area is proven to reduce health inequalities
- The natural environment can support sustainability through increasing biodiversity, encouraging active transport and enhance community participation
Nature-based social prescribing offers non-medical, socially supported solutions, offering a cost-effective approach to addressing prevalent mental and physical health problems. They present a platform that can fully integrate biodiversity, climate and health challenges, with significant positive economic and societal benefits.
What is the Social Prescribing Toolkit?
Many NIEL members are well placed to implement or become delivery partners for projects and interventions that can address these multiple challenges. However, NIEL recognises that barriers exist for members wishing to do so. This Social Prescribing Evaluation Toolkit has been developed to help NIEL members by:
- Ensuring they have the monitoring and evaluation tools to measure intervention impact and to provide robust, reliable evidence
- Helping to demonstrate to potential funders that members have a tested monitoring and evaluation methodology built into project design
- Strengthening member’s standing as pivotal in helping to meet people’s need for nature connectedness, as a key pathway to mental and physical health and wellbeing
- Evidencing member’s ability to deliver interventions that increase pro-nature conservation
- Estimating the value of Social Prescribing through the use of Quality of Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) mechanism for assessing the cost-effectiveness of health care interventions
The Social Prescribing Toolkit provides guidance and supporting resources to help NIEL members to undertake a robust of assessment of their social prescribing activities.
Undertaking this assessment provides understanding of the effectiveness of activities including evidence on outcomes delivered in relation to health and wellbeing.
Within the Social Prescribing Toolkit members will get a Questionnaire template with a library of questions for use in participant surveys, as well as an analysis template and instructional video to support data analysis.
Who will the Social Prescribing Toolkit be available to?
The Social Prescribing Toolkit will only be available to those who are members of NIEL. Membership can be attained easily by visiting the NIEL website membership page by clicking on the following link: https://www.nienvironmentlink.org/niel-members/join-us
Membership is open to voluntary organisations whose aims include promoting the conservation of the natural and built environment of Northern Ireland.
Full members have the right to vote at NIEL meetings and serve on the Board of Directors. Full members are involved in a variety of activities including participating in sub-committees, working groups and providing input to NIEL policy development. NIEL member benefits and services are continually being developed. For information on the latest benefits and services please visit the NIEL website: www.nienvironmentlink.org
Associate Membership is open to statutory organisations, companies or individuals with an interest in the environment. Associate members can access NIEL information and selected services and may become involved in working groups.