New pilot scheme aims to address health inequalities in Ellesmere Port and Neston

Reporter:

Matt Warner

A new drive to engage Ellesmere Port residents in local health and well-being programmes is being pioneered.

ForHousing, part of ForViva group based in the North West, deliver housing management services to 5,500 Cheshire West and Chester Council owned homes in Ellesmere Port, Neston and Winsford and has been working with Elemental Software to develop a pilot project to set up a social prescribing.

Social prescribing links local residents to non-clinical sources of support in their community to tackle health issues such as loneliness and isolation and to drive positive lifestyle changes that can reduce the need for clinical treatments.

Recent figures show that this approach delivers a wide range of positive health outcomes by empowering patients to engage with their own health choices, as well as reducing pressure on the health service by cutting GP consultation rates by 28% and A&E attendance by 24%.

Social prescribing formed a key part of the bid by ForViva to deliver housing management services in the area. ForViva is a forward thinking social organisation which aims to enable communities to build vibrant and safe neighbourhoods, and improve their health, education and employment prospects.

Henry Terefenko, director of operations for ForHousing, said: “We understand the benefits that social prescribing can bring to local communities. That’s why we’re pleased to work with like-minded partners to deliver outcomes together and ultimately achieve our vision of improved lives.”

Using the Elemental digital platform ForHousing will make direct referrals tailored to the needs of individual residents to services and support in the area and have the ability to monitor and track the impact of the social prescription. ForHousing is also working with Westminster GP Practice to enable GPs to refer patients through to social prescribing activities and significantly increase the numbers of residents accessing and engaging with programmes delivered by ForHousing and its partners.

Leeann Monk, co-founder of Elemental Software, said: “Social prescribing is increasingly becoming recognised as the way forward in enabling real and lasting health improvements in communities.

“There is growing evidence showing that this approach reduces the need for clinical interventions and empowers people to make positive lifestyle changes. We are delighted to be working with ForHousing to develop an innovative new project that will support staff to quickly and easily create social prescriptions and monitor the real impact that their health and wellbeing programmes are delivering in Ellesmere Port.”

Elemental Software was set up by co-founders Leeann Özgül and Jennifer Neff in 2015, following 15 years of experience as community development workers in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The cloud-based platform connects health and social professionals, social prescribers, patients and providers of community-based programmes and services to provide commissioners with the freedom and flexibility to shape social prescribing initiatives based on the needs of their residents and community infrastructure.

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

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