Wellness scheme expanded

A circle of clasped hands

Cumberland Council is expanding a life changing service.

The council’s social prescribing team links people to services and activities to improve their wellbeing.

Until now it has only been available in the former Copeland area, but from 1 April it expanded to cover the former Allerdale council area, and there are hopes that in time it will cover the whole Cumberland Council area.

Cllr Lisa Brown, Cumberland's Portfolio Holder for Adults and Community Health, said: “The team has already been making contact with local groups and services in the former Allerdale area. Now, they will be attending events to introduce themselves to local residents, promote the service and demonstrate the online service directory, Joy. In time and with funding in place, we would like to expand the service to the Carlisle area too."

The council’s Community Connectors ‘prescribe’ services that could help with:

Low level mental health issues, housing and homelessness, loneliness, benefits and debt problems, digital inclusion and physical health.

Cllr Brown added: “Members of our team work one-to-one with residents who may need support to access services, or are apprehensive about taking the first step on their journey.

“Residents can also use the Joy online directory to search for support and refer themselves directly to any of the 160 local groups and services on there.

“We host a quarterly forum which brings local services together to raise awareness of what is available, promote partnership working, and connect people who want to volunteer.

“If people can get this support at an early stage, it often prevents them needing NHS and other services down the line.

The social prescribing service is funded by the Sellafield Social Impact Fund, and the Copeland Community Fund. It was first set up in 2020 with funding from the Copeland Community Fund.

Since April 2022, the Community Connectors have directly helped more than 500 people improve their wellbeing by connecting with groups.

They have also engaged with a further 200 people, by advising them or directing them to other support.

More than 8,000 hours of volunteer time have been given to communities through people using the scheme to find volunteering opportunities.

Cumberland Council’s social prescribing team can be contacted at social.prescribing@cumberland.gov.uk.

The Joy online directory of service can be found at services.thejoyapp.com. The social prescribing service is only available to adults.

Find out more about social prescribing here: socialprescribingacademy.org.uk