Social prescribing: customer stories

Our social prescription pilot in Whitehill and Bordon is well underway! As one of the UK’s named Healthy New Towns, Radian works closely with GPs and health professionals to identify those that may have fallen through the gaps between health and social care. By taking a preventative approach to the health and wellbeing of our residents and supporting them to stay healthy through social prescribing services, Radian closes the gap between health and housing, whilst also reducing long-term costs for the NHS.

 

John’s story

John was referred to us in November by his GP as he was experiencing low mood and feeling quite isolated. He is an experienced wood turner, self-taught carpenter and DIY expert, with a shed filled with tools and wood where he creates all sorts of things for his home and family, as a solo activity for him.

We encouraged John to give the local Men’s Shed a try. We supported him in attending the first few sessions, but now John has built the confidence to attend each week and is thriving. He has made some beautiful wooden Christmas decorations and a suggestions box for our community hub, Café 1759. He has reported feeling less isolated and has found meaningful connections outside his close family.

“I’ve got lots of family, but I don’t have many social connections as many of the people I used to know have passed away. I spent 18 years in the The Royal Air Force and then worked with my wife for 35 years, which led to a lonely lifestyle really. My wife wanted me out from under her feet, she always said I should use my skills to help others, so this helped me find a way to do that. I think my woodwork skills are useful for others at the Men’s Shed as I learn things but also teach them things too. I’ve been every week and made some good connections there. It’s not just at the Men’s Shed, I helped one guy who attends outside of the group, by lending him tools and helping him with a separate project. Another guy there said that he was grateful that I’d joined as I’m able to support people with my skills, which is very rewarding. I feel valued again.

My advice for someone wanting to explore a social prescription is to go along with the suggestions of your link worker. You’ll meet nice people, find shared interests, learn from end help each other, not just yourself. It feels great – I wish I’d done it years ago!”

 

Margaret’s story

Margaret was referred to us in October by her GP. She was experiencing low mood and wanted to find something active to do in the local community. As well as being outdoors and keeping fit Margaret loves gardening. After a few visits we attended the Deadwater Valley Trust volunteer sessions with her. Having attended a few sessions together, she now has the confidence to attend these sessions independently of our support and thoroughly enjoys it.

“If I’m not outside, I feel like the walls close in on me. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, a bit low at the time and my doctor had mentioned taking antidepressants but I didn’t want to do that, so they recommended social prescription and I though I’d give it a try! Radian came round to visit me and got me out there again and it broke the cycle I was in.

The flexibility of it appeals to me, no one gets cross if you don’t go one week and they are very welcoming whenever you are there. It’s great, people are friendly and people car share there so that’s helpful. I bumped into a lady I met there in the supermarket the other day and it was lovely. The social connections aren’t just within the groups, but wider now too.

It’s very social. It’s made me go out there with a purpose. The people there are super helpful, no question about that. I’m a naturally active person, capable and outgoing, but I did get into a bit of a rut. You need a kick start and I can’t emphasise enough, you meet people that you can become friends with and it means a lot.

Eventually I said I didn’t think I needed Radian to come with me after a time, and I haven’t looked back. For me personally it’s worked really well and I highly recommend doing it. My advice for anyone is to go along!”