One of the challenges the pandemic has presented is looking after our health and wellbeing both physically and mentally. Self-isolating and social distancing has been hard for everyone, some more than others and particularly for those shielding and living alone. People in South Derbyshire have done a fantastic job following guidelines and doing their part to defeat the virus. In support of this, I am pleased to see the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) has been awarded £5 million in funding to support people to stay connected and maintain their health and wellbeing.
The funding will help connect people to initiatives in their local community which will improve peoples mental health and wellbeing. This includes a wide range of things, the NASP will work with partners including the Arts Council England, Natural England, Money and Pensions Services, NHS Charities Together, Sport England and NHS England. It will help improve green spaces, physical activities and provide money advise, particularly surrounding debt.
Supporting peoples mental and physical health is important especially in such difficult times and by reconnecting people with their community it can provide substantial support to those struggling. Loneliness has been a problem that was inflated during the pandemic and I hope this new initiative will provide support to those who need it in South Derbyshire.
Some of the projects that have been developed so far include the football “Be a Game Changer” programme to support men with mental health issues. Art by Post, where the Southbank Centre sends free creative activity booklets to people across the UK. Improved green spaces, connecting people to their local wildlife and activities including food growing, music workshops, healthy cooking and more. There are also money advice projects being run by the Money and Pensions Service and Mental Health UK.
South Derbyshire has recently appointed a new Social Prescribing link worker who has been working with the community voluntary service to help connect people and communities and provide the support they need. This funding will help build on the fantastic work they have been doing.