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Project underway to provide social prescribing for young people in the West Midlands


Researchers across the West Midlands have been working in collaboration to highlight the potential economic and employability impact of social prescribing for young people.

Social prescribing is a means by which frontline healthcare professionals (e.g. GPs) can refer individuals to local, non-clinical services that are able to provide support for social, emotional and/or practical needs.

Social prescribing provision has traditionally been targeted at adults and the elderly experiencing social isolation, loneliness and long-term health conditions.

The benefits of social prescribing include improvements in personal attributes such as self-esteem, confidence, and mental wellbeing, together with those transferable to the workplace or training, such as communication and the acquisition of new skills.

Researchers at the University of Wolverhampton’s Institute for Community Research and Development (ICRD) and the University of Birmingham’s West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute have been working together to examine existing social prescribing provision for young people in the West Midlands and its economic, and employability impact.

The project aims to consider the need for, benefits of, and potential barriers to, accessing social prescribing interventions for young people in the West Midlands, with particular focus on its impact on employability and local economy.

Dr Rachel Hopley and Dr Joanne Mills, researchers at the ICRD have published a research digest, which summarises a rapid scoping review of the need for, and provision of, social prescribing for young people in the region.

James Rees, Deputy Director of the Institute for Community Research and Development at the University of Wolverhampton said: “I am delighted to see the publication of this important report, the result of a collaboration between ICRD researchers and the team at the University of Birmingham.  It fills a crucial gap in our knowledge of social prescribing in the region and beyond and will ultimately contribute to better services and improved employment and wellbeing outcomes for young people.”

The next phase of the project involves communicating with those who provide prescribing support in the West Midlands, and those who work with young people, in order to gain a clearer picture about what social prescribing delivery is currently taking place and how it can enable young people to make the move away from unemployment into further work or training.

Findings will then feed into an evaluation framework to enable providers to monitor their activity and impact in this area, and further outputs with the aim of making recommendations to policy makers both regionally and nationally.

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