RVA and partners are delivering a project designed to help people of Reading to recover from Covid-19 through the power of social prescribing. The Wild Being project will increase social connectedness and help Reading communities cope with the impact of Covid-19, as part of a national initiative to embed social prescribing in communities and healthcare. It has been awarded £50k funding from the Thriving Communities Fund.
There is already a vibrant social prescribing network in Reading, which involves over 80 organisations providing holistic social, physical and cultural activities to improve wellbeing and support diverse communities. This project will enable 300 participants to benefit from an extensive programme of activities to boost their mental health, skills, and relationships.
Partners and roles
- Reading Voluntary Action – project lead and coordination
- The MERL, on behalf of Museums Partnership Reading – lead for arts and culture
- Sport in Mind – lead for sports and physical activities
- Reading Green Wellbeing Network – lead for nature and the environment
- Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE) – engaging BAMER communities
- Reading Community Learning Centre – engaging isolated BAMER women
- CommuniCare – lead for advice and guidance
- Compass Recovery College – delivering mental health and wellbeing support on a range of activities
- Parents and Children Together (PACT), Alana House – supporting women who are vulnerable, or at risk of offending or reoffending
- Rosetta Life – providing pathways from hospital into culture and partnership activities
- Age UK Berkshire – engaging older people
- Weekly physical activity sessions will be tailored to people experiencing mental illness, with a core focus on those with severe and enduring conditions. Over 350 one-hour sessions will be offered to adults of all ages, genders and fitness levels, including football, table tennis, cricket, yoga, tai chi and walking.
- There will also be accessible, friendly and hyper-local pop-up sessions, offering a mix of gardening and nature-based activities, throughout the growing season, carried out on a drop-in basis in a variety of locations, including the sites of partner organisations.
- There will be arts and culture activities through the Museums Partnership Reading. At MERL, participants will be able to explore creative interests through experiences such as Memory Making, Hands on Heritage and Dance for Health. Garden, cafe and gallery spaces will be used to offer Covid-safe opportunities for reflection, refreshment and enjoyment.
- Employability programmes will include access to Higher Education and career development, with a range of workshops aimed at young people, aged 16+, as well as an offer of advice and financial wellbeing.
A long-term vision for social prescribing and sustainable networks in Reading
Wild Being also sets out a long-term vision for social prescribing. A sustainable network will see stakeholders, commissioners and funders invest in the programme and work together better to make best use of resources. New peer support and community initiatives will be developed to help address health and economic inequalities in the region. And social prescribing will have the opportunity to support individuals through the Covid-19 recovery and beyond.
About the Thriving Communities Fund
- Wild Being is supported by the Thriving Communities Fund, which aims to improve and increase social prescribing community activities by bringing together place-based partnerships of local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise projects. The Thriving Communities Fund has been made possible thanks to funding from the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England, with support from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Sport England, the Office for Civil Society, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.
- The National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP) is an organisation dedicated to the advancement of social prescribing through promotion, collaboration and innovation. They work to create partnerships, across the arts, health, sports, leisure, and the natural environment, alongside other aspects of our lives, to promote health and wellbeing at a national and local level. They champion social prescribing and the work of local communities in connecting people for wellbeing.
- Read more on the NASP website.