Social prescribing

Our team of Social Prescribing Link Workers take a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support – from referring them for counselling, to supporting those struggling with homelessness, isolation, mental health, debt issues, welfare benefits and the impact of Covid-19.

Social prescribing works for a wide range of people, including people with one or more long-term conditions, those who need support with their mental health, the lonely or isolated, and those who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing. GPs can refer patients to our Social Prescribers.

Our team was established at the start of the pandemic (March 2020) and has been involved in

  • Thousands of wellbeing calls supporting patients during the pandemic
  • Linking patients to shopping, foodbanks, prescriptions and helping those struggling with isolation
  • Supporting those with fuel poverty issues, housing and homelessness
  • Signposting people for exercise programmes
  • Grant applications – Gardening for the Disabled Trust helped a disabled patient with funding for raised beds
  • Supporting those with financial worries (Partnership with Citizens Advice Trafford to develop a dedicated debt support service for patients)
  • Supporting those with mental health issues, those with safeguarding concerns and those requiring job advice
  • Connecting people (including supporting those needing digital access) to groups regarding hobbies and interests (art, music, sport, gardening, cookery and more)
  • Helping those with sleep issues and weight management concerns
  • Supporting carers

In addition the team is involved in longer-term projects including:


Supporting older men to cook healthy meals. Identifying those with conditions such as diabetes/heart disease who can access expert-led cookery workshops. Benefits of the programme include improved healthy eating, health education, reducing loneliness/isolation and fun! The programme also has long-term aims of establishing lunch clubs to maintain social interaction and continue to promote healthy eating plus support mental and physical health.

Dementia Therapy Pet Pilot

The PCN is supporting the running of a six-month pilot scheme using ‘breathing’ dementia therapy soft toys in a local care home to benefit dementia patients. The feedback is already positive with residents demonstrating increased calmness and reduced anxiety, improved wellbeing and social interaction and happiness. According to Dementia UK, the use of life-like pets/soft toys can support those with dementia by

  • Easing anxiety – stroking the pet toy or holding it can relieve stress and improve wellbeing through calmness
  • Promoting happiness – it may remind them of a time when they had a pet themselves or create feelings of affection
  • Creating renewed purpose – having something to touch/care for can connect them with the outside world and increase involvement/activity levels
  • Increasing communication – enabling improved sociability, having something to talk about with others/family, stimulating communication

Green Social Prescribing

Working with an allotment project in the community to benefit patients through improved health and wellbeing and promoting social interaction

Developing Eco-Therapy opportunities for patients

Supporting partners in Trafford applying for The Green Recovery bid.

A dedicated Debt Support Service

Working in partnership with Citizens Advice Trafford a bespoke service has been developed to support those struggling with financial issues

The impact of the pandemic has seen an increase in mental health and wellbeing issues. Those with money worries are being helped through a dedicated service enabling swift access to advice and support – read a helpful leaflet to find out more.

Sporting Support

Developing swimming sessions to support pain management in patients

Working with local teams to support ‘walking football’ and ‘walking rugby’ in the area

How you can self refer

Patients can ‘self-refer’ to the Social Prescribing Team by completing an online form on the Altrincham Healthcare Alliance website or can speak to their GP, the GP practice reception team or by emailing the Social Prescribing Team

For more information regarding social prescribing see our leaflet – AHA Social Prescribing

Date published: 25th September, 2023
Date last updated: 10th April, 2024