Building connection and confidence in Brighton & Hove after COVID-19

Written by a guest
9th Mar 2022

Throughout the pandemic and lockdowns, Together Co Social Prescribing has been helping people to connect with others and find the support they need during tough times. Our link workers are supporting people with the challenges they now face as the Covid-19 restrictions are coming to an end. Here, Together Co Social Prescribing Link Worker, Kirsty Treadwell writes about her four insights into how Social Prescribing can help.

1. Give people the time and space to work out what is important to them

We know the pandemic has been a time of great changes in the lives of many; some have been reflecting and evaluating their priorities and wanting to make a change, others have felt a decline in their health and wellbeing.

Either way, it can feel very daunting to figure out how to go about things or where to go for help. Whether this is due to unwanted changes or loss, or a new sense of what really matters, social prescribing can help you to find the places and people you need to support you in making your own decisions and taking your own next steps.

We do this by giving you space and time to discover what you need to boost your wellbeing, and we can help rebuild confidence by supporting you to take small steps, helping you rediscover your resilience and inner strength. We can help people prioritise their goals and then find a way to achieve these. This could be finding services that will provide the advice and support you need, connecting with others, or reconnecting with old or new hobbies.

2. Support people to build their confidence to go out again

For some of our clients, the periods of isolation have really impacted their confidence about going out and being with other people. This might be because their physical health has deteriorated, but also worries and anxieties about becoming ill now they are mixing with others. Other people have told us it has affected their mental health, making them feel very nervous about going out and socialising again.

Through Social Prescribing, we can listen to your worries, help find practical ways to deal with them, and make suggestions when you are not sure what might help.

Breaking down challenges into smaller steps makes a huge impact. Link workers will work with you to set goals and can help to break things down into more manageable steps.

Together Co also has a Buddy Scheme where we can match you with a volunteer who can support you to start going to activities and groups. The aim is to help people have the confidence to engage with their interests by giving some extra moral support to achieve the steps to meet their goals

3. Help to navigate community resources

Now that the world is opening again, we are starting to see organisations and services become more available, and new groups and activities emerging in Brighton. But it can be overwhelming to think about which direction to take, or where you can get more support.

Social Prescribing can provide help to navigate the changing landscape of local services — we have an extensive up-to-date directory of groups, services and organisations, and within the team, we hold a huge amount of knowledge of the local area and community to help you find what you need to feel happier, healthier, and better informed.

It is fantastic to see that things are opening again after all this time, and we are excited to help people link in with the fantastic resources in our city! Remember, in a city of nearly 300,000, no one should be lonely or socially isolated — and our Social Prescribing team can help make sure that no one is.

4. Think about the potential for Green Wellbeing

Maybe something positive to come out of the last couple of years has been a new appreciation of being outside in nature and green spaces. There have been several studies to show the positive impact it can have on people’s mental health and wellbeing in many ways.

There are lots of different projects in Brighton that support people to connect with nature and other people through green wellbeing, and through Social Prescribing we can help people access these activities.

Social prescribing link workers can refer people to projects that offer space to take part in gardening and food growing, ecotherapy, walking groups, and outside cookery to name a few green wellbeing activities in Brighton.

Joe’s Social Prescribing Story

Joe was working during the pandemic in a job that was very stressful and making him feel burnt out. Along with this, and the isolation he experienced during lockdowns Joe started to feel quite depressed. He began to feel less confident and found it difficult to socialise with people again once restrictions started to ease.

Joe told his link worker he wanted to look for a new job, so we helped with a referral to St Mungo’s Employment Project. He also wanted more time to explore his creativity, so his link worker connected him with a local art for wellbeing group. Finally, we suggested support from one of our volunteer buddies, who could join Joe for a walk around his local park to help build up some confidence, with the aim of eventually joining a local health walk group where he could get more exercise and meet some new people.

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© 2019 Together Collective a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales: Company No. 03895574, whose registered office is Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD. Together Collective is a registered charity: Charity No. 1083390