What Matters To Me - Audrey's Social Prescribing Story

Social Prescribing connects people to opportunities and support in the local community. We work with our clients on a 1-2-1 basis for a period up to 24-weeks, and we provide people with time and space to work on ‘what matters to me’.

The people who use the Social Prescribing service often face various challenges, and our Social Prescribing teams aim to help people address these challenges to improve their health and wellbeing. This is Audrey's story.

Audrey was referred into Social Prescribing for bereavement support, and for the isolation and loneliness she was experiencing. Audrey was assigned to Becky, one of our Tameside Social Prescribing Officers.

In a telephone call Audrey and Becky discussed accessing social groups, but Audrey declined due to her health conditions. She told Becky that she has regular calls from family and neighbours, and she was very grateful about staying connected with the people she was closest to.

Becky spent time speaking to and getting to know Audrey, who revealed that her main challenges were transport and finances. Audrey was unable to use public transport and relied on taxis to visit her family, but she was struggling to manage the cost. In a telephone call Becky asked Audrey what matters to her and what she felt would help her wellbeing. Audrey replied, "I know that just being able to see my family will improve my wellbeing". However, Audrey had recently had to cut down on visiting her family due to the cost of transport, and had to make the choice to spend money on food and bills instead.

Audrey had lots of support from her granddaughter, but her granddaughter is also a carer for her mum, and Audrey shared that she didn't want to be a burden to her family.

Our approach to Social Prescribing is to work with people on 'what matters to me', and Becky embodied this principle while working with Audrey.

After assessing the importance of Audrey staying connected to her family, and the barrier to doing this in the cost of transport, Becky connected Audrey to Transport for Greater Manchester’s taxi voucher scheme. She also put Audrey in touch with Action Together’s Miles of Smiles community transport service, which helps people who have difficulty using public transport to attend health appointments. The scheme is unique in Tameside as it provides a door-to-door service, ensuring that passengers arrive on time with minimum difficulty.

Becky sourced information on support available in Audrey’s community that would help to reduce the cost of travel, allowing Audrey to see her family more, which meant so much to Audrey. Audrey thanked Becky and shared this about her Social Prescribing experience:

"You have honestly been so helpful! This is going to help me so much and I know I’ll feel better if I get to see my family and not have to worry about the cost of transport."

Audrey only needed one telephone appointment with Becky, but following this single appointment was connected to Transport for Greater Manchester and Miles of Smiles. Becky also provided the information to Audrey in a letter with further detail on the two schemes, alongside a variety of social activities and Becky’s contact details should Audrey wish to receive additional information in the future.

Action Together deliver free Social Prescribing services in Oldham and Tameside. From a one-off appointment to a 24-week programme of support, our teams aim to help people to improve their health and wellbeing by focusing on 'what matters to me'. Find out more:

Oldham Social Prescribing

Web: https://www.actiontogether.org.uk/oldham-social-prescribing

Phone: 0161 339 2345, then Option 1 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm)

Email: oldccg.socialprescribing@nhs.net

Tameside Social Prescribing

Web: https://www.actiontogether.org.uk/tameside-social-prescribing

Phone: 0161 830 6833 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm)

Email: socialprescribing@actiontogether.org.uk