A day in the life of a social prescribing link worker
On July 8th, a national day to celebrate and showcase the contribution of social prescribing link workers in improving population health and wellbeing will take place. As the excitement for Link Worker Day builds, we’ve been reaching out to our customers around the UK and Ireland to find out more about their social prescribing link workers and what a day in their professional life looks like.
Today’s blog is focussing on Healthbox CIC Link Worker, Steve Horbacsweski and is written by Jessica Conner, Marketing Manager at Healthbox CIC.
Improving the wellbeing of Ellesmere Port residents
In 2016 Healthbox CIC were awarded a £500,000 pot of funding by the Big Lottery for a 3 year project focussing on improving the wellbeing of Ellesmere Port residents.
The project was named The Wellbeing High Street and has been extremely successful in outcomes so far, from family engagement to social isolation and employability. Now, you may think this project sounds like a walk in the park (or a walk along Ellesmere Port’s High Street) but it comes with it’s challenges.
But has it stopped the team from powering on?
The right kind of person for the job
Of course not. Various activities and programmes have ran over the past 2 and a half years, all free to the public. These activities include, gardening, adult and children’s yoga, family summer projects, arts and crafts, cookery courses, falls prevention classes, themed events, mental health services, exercise classes such as pilates and zumba and much more.
Of course many of these activities have been well attended but it takes the right kind of person, or in this instance, a social prescribing link worker to convince residents to come along. These things take time, and that’s exactly what the team give to them.
A day in the link worker life of Steve Horbacsweski
Steve Horbacsweski, The Project Liaison Coordinator acts as the social prescribing link worker for Healthbox CIC from week to week. Steve works extremely hard to help the local community, creating partnerships with local community groups, not-for-profits and businesses. He is keen to get local GP’s on board with social prescribing and has relationships with many practices in the local area.
I visited Steve on a random weekday in Ellesmere Port and asked him to talk me through what a typical day looks like.
“My day starts with popping into the Healthbox office to catch up on emails, plan for promotional events, grab a quick coffee and catching up with The Wellbeing High Street team. Then, with my prescription sized activity timetable in tow, I head out into the community.
This is where the fun starts, whether it be relaxing movements on a Tuesday or coffee and chat on a Wednesday, I’ll be there. This is what my role is all about, and this is what makes a difference to the community – it’s all about trust.
I go and sit and chat to anyone willing to chat back, it could be about anything at all. Then, if I identify an interest a person has in one of our activities or just notice they enjoy talking to new people or perhaps signs of being socially isolated, I suggest they head to a group best suited to them. Now, it may take 3 or 4 similar chats before that person actually attends a class but once they do it’s like magic happens!
I’ve met people so frightened to attend a class with strangers, who are now setting up and running their own community groups. And that’s why I do it. If this project can make a difference to 1 person we’re over the moon. At the end of the day I collect any new participants data and input it into the Elemental platform on my tablet. I truly believe social prescribing is the way forward!
The backbone of effective social prescribing
‘Steve is so committed to the people of Ellesmere Port and a true social prescribing champion. We’re delighted that Link Worker Day on July 8th will celebrate people like Steve all around the UK who work tirelessly to create connections designed to improve the lives of people in their community. Link Workers really are the backbone of any successful social prescribing programme”. Jennifer Neff, Co-Ceo and Co Founder, Elemental Software
JESSICA CONNER, MARKETING MANAGER, HEALTHBOX CIC
Healthbox CIC are a Community Interest Company based in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire that exists with the aim to provide health and wellbeing services to all aspects of the community. Most importantly, hosting a multidisciplinary team from public health nutritionists, yoga instructors, counsellors, oral health practitioners and more. Each member of the Healthbox CIC team has a real passion for health promotion.