Libraries Connected were delighted to be at the launch of the new Social Prescribing Academy last Wednesday evening.
Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services. The new academy is part of the government’s ambition for every patient in the country to have access to social prescribing schemes on the NHS.
There are over 3000 public libraries in the UK and many of these are already working closely with local social prescribers. Libraries are within reach of most communities and offer a warm welcome for all without judgement.
Public Libraries have a proud tradition of valuing and celebrating diversity. They have strong relationships with their communities and are viewed as trusted safe spaces. They enable people to take control of their own lives and learn more about managing their own health and wellbeing, for example providing resources through the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme developed by The Reading Agency.
Public libraries offer a wide range of services and facilities that support individual wellbeing including social groups and meeting spaces, the chance to learn new skills, volunteering roles, craft and “making” activities and high-quality arts and cultural experiences.
Local libraries actively respond to the needs of people in their communities, they support people who are experiencing loneliness and mental health issues and work through local partners to raise awareness of opportunities available.
Isobel Hunter, CEO, Libraries Connected:
‘Public libraries can have a transformative effect on the wellbeing of individuals. They are perfectly placed to support social prescribing and Libraries Connected look forward to building deeper relationships, contributing to the evidence base and working together with the new academy to improve the lives of our citizens.’