Social Prescribing

Social prescribing is a non-medical prescription which involves engaging with the person and connecting them to the right services for what the individual needs at that time. Trained community link workers are stationed at local GP surgeries or meet people out in the community to discuss their health. It has been active in the East Riding since November 2017, and has already helped thousands of local people be happy and well.

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is about linking residents with local community groups and services that offer support and advice to help them, improving self-care and tackling the social causes of ill health and wellbeing. Following a successful trial in early 2018, social prescribing has been rolled out across all GP Practices in the East Riding.

Link workers are based in all East Riding GPs and offer social prescribing to local residents to ensure the right support is made available to them when they need it.

Issues they can help with include social activities, how to meet new friends, exercise classes to improve mental and physical wellbeing and long term conditions groups; in some areas, debt and welfare support or supporting residents to implement their own community-based projects.

Social prescribing in the East Riding

The pilot found a number of people regularly visited their GP for underlying non-medical issues that, if dealt with, could reduce reliance on medical interventions and help them better manage existing long-term or complex conditions.

The social prescribing team can help support people to deal with a variety of things that affect their health and wellbeing. They will spend time with residents, listen to what they want to make better and then provide support to help make it happen.

Link workers, based in GP practices, can spend more time getting to the cause of the issues are, rather than a GP who has an allotted time. Together, you and your link worker will co-design and agree a personalised plan of action.

Social Prescribing does not replace medical services but instead works with them and the patient to identify and deal with underlying issues that hinder the person's quality of life and health and wellbeing.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is one of many organisations involved in the social prescribing service locally. Others include:

  • Humber NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Riding GPs
  • HEY Smile Foundation

To contact a local link worker or make an appointment, residents can call in to their GP, call free on 0800 9177752 or email

There is a huge range of groups and clubs in the East Riding that you can be referred or introduced to. For example, there are local branches of popular men's activity group Men in Sheds that have worked closely with the social prescribing team. Find out more in the short video.

Search for contact details and meeting times for a range of local groups and clubs in the community directory. Use keywords, locations or try the advanced filters to find a group or club that interests you.

Search the community directory

Health & Wellbeing Team (Community Builders)

The Health and Wellbeing Team are the Community Builders for the Social Prescribing programme. As a part of the social prescribing cycle, the Health & Wellbeing Team (Community Builders) help to promote and create social and activity groups in the area. Find out more about their role and how they can help your group, whether you are established with members or want to start up.

View the Health and Wellbeing Team

For voluntary or community groups and those with a good idea or wishing to volunteer, help and support is available from the Smile Foundation by signing up to the East Riding Community Hive. This free service provides information and access to local funding grants, support on how to run a group, training and safeguarding, free equipment to borrow and much more.

East Riding Community Hive

Getting help and support

Search the Community directory for local groups, clubs, small charities, volunteer-run and social support near you.

Search for community support

Search the Services directory for local and national services and support you can contact in person, online and over the phone.

Search for services

Social Prescribing Stories

Watch Steven's story: Losing weight and finding a new purpose

When Steven retired from work, he felt like he was on holiday for a couple months. At first, Steven enjoyed being able to complete odd jobs around the house and all the projects he had put off to retirement, but when he finished them, he didn't know what to do from then on. Left to his own devices and without the schedule he was used to, Steven's weight shot up to 21 and a half stone. He was unhappy and his weight greatly affected his health, forcing him to visit the doctor. There, he met with the link workers of the social prescribing service. Listen to Steven's story of success and how he slimmed down and made connections with new friends.

Watch Margaret's story: Confidence in a new community

When Margaret moved to Driffield, she hoped she would find a community, but anxiety became a barrier of finding new friends and couldn't leave the house. Margaret quickly became isolated in her home, and would often telephone her local GP. Watch Margaret's story and how, with help from Dr Klakus and one-to-one support with link worker Phil, she gained new confidence to go into town.

Watch Richard's story: Being happy and well in retirement

Having spent his entire working life in the merchant navy, Richard found retirement hard to adjust to. He was unsure how to meet likeminded people. With most of his family grown and moved away, Richard struggled with the isolation he found himself in. Link worker Fernanda helped Richard find local volunteer groups he could join, helping him socialise and regain his confidence.

Watch Mike's story: From isolation to helping others

Mike was a successful businessman, but following the recession in the late 90s he suffered setback after setback, both professionally and personally. Mike became increasingly isolated and depressed, meeting with friends and family less and less over five years. On a routine visit to the doctors, Mike's GP recognised the signs and referred Mike to a Link Worker. Within a few weeks Mike was relocated to sheltered housing and started one of the HealthER programmes at East Riding Leisure. A year later, Mike is much better physically, mentally and emotionally and now helps his neighbours.

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