Forming part of the Thriving Communities programme, the fund will support the creation and growth of place-based partnerships led by voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations. Goals of the overarching scheme include providing innovative care for those facing health inequalities and individuals experiencing the greatest impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Academy for Social Prescribing is contributing £1.15 million to the fund, with Arts Council England topping this up with £250,000 from the National Lottery. Arts Council will be administering the fund, with application guidance now available on its website.
“Last year, we set out to champion social prescribing and the work of local communities in connecting people for wellbeing. The Thriving Communities programme and fund seeks to bring this to life, by supporting the vital work of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups supporting communities most impacted by Covid-19 in England, working alongside social prescribing link workers,” explains James Sanderson, chief executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing.
“These grants will encourage partnerships led by voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups and organisations to increase social prescribing activities that benefit their communities – particularly across arts, nature, physical activity, financial wellbeing, health and care – and support for people impacted by Covid-19. In so doing, they will help community groups and others unleash the power of social prescribing together.”
Darren Henley, Arts Council England’s chief executive, says the pandemic has “shown even more clearly how important things like creativity, nature and exercise are”.
The Thriving Communities programme will be delivered by a coalition of strategic partners including NHS England and NHS Improvement; Sport England; Natural England; the Office for Civil Society; the Money & Pensions Service; and NHS Charities Together.