Leanne's Social Prescribing Story

Action Together deliver the Tameside Social Prescribing service and Oldham Social Prescribing service. Social Prescribing is a way to help people improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them with local community groups and activities. It can be really effective for people experiencing anxiety, low mood, loneliness, or who have recently experienced life changing circumstances. In Tameside referalls can be made through a GP or direct to us on our online self-referral.

Leanne* was referred to our service through her local medical practice. One of our social prescribers told us Leanne's story:

Leanne was referred by the Doctor at her local practice as she was experiencing a lot of physical pain and psychological issues due to some anti-social behaviour from a neighbour. Leanne also wanted help managing her debts more effectively - she found herself ‘broke’ most of the time and was fed up.

Leanne’s family were supportive, but she was affected by her own mental health decline due to the circumstances she found herself in. Leanne was also increasingly worrying about her children’s busy lives. She thought that this was affecting their mental health, and this resulted in her not always being able to see her grandchildren, whom she missed.

Through person-centred conversations with Leanne, I discovered that she had tried to resolve her debt with Step Change. I reflected to Leanne that she has been motivated and determined to change this on her own, which was great!

Leanne said that she did find them very helpful and that she still had their contact details, and she agreed that she would ring them herself. Leanne also said that she had tried to get an appointment with Welfare Rights but was not able to book one due to the pandemic restrictions, as she wanted to appeal a PIP decision which resulted in her having this benefit stopped.

I discussed the support that Welfare Rights could offer, and acknowledged to her that it shows her resilience in being driven to want to appeal, as it meant going through the process again. Leanne consented to a referral to Welfare Rights for the PIP appeal and other debts that she wanted to address.

Leanne talked about her anxiety, and I discussed the support that she could gain through the MIND Peer Support Project, where a peer volunteer would support her to develop strategies to manage her anxiety and support her to access activities in the community. Leanne wanted to consider this option, so I sent her further information to read.

After this, I carried out a review call with Leanne to see if she wanted to be referred to MIND. She said that she liked the sound of this type of support and said that she needed to make a change. so she consented to this referra and I contacted Welfare Rights and MIND to refer Leanne.

At the review call Leanne told me that she had her PIP reinstated and this was helping greatly with her finances. Feedback from MIND said that Leanne was engaging well with her volunteer, and they do a mix of phone and face to face contact. Through this new trusting relationship further discussions had taken place where a referral was also made to Motiv8, which was accepted.

“I enjoy the company of the Peer Support Volunteer, we meet up for brews or a walk.”

In our closing appointment Leanne told me that she was working with Motiv8, who are supporting her with her finances and will be working with her in greater depth. Leanne also told me that she been doing pot painting with her Peer Support Volunteer at 4CT in Ashton and really enjoyed this. She plans to return there with grandchildren in the New Year, giving them both something lovely to do.

I learnt from Leanne to always empower someone to do the things that they are capable of and not erode their own skills or confidence in themselves. Leanne rang Step Change herself so I just had to direct her to the right channels for support. 

With the space to discuss her concerns in a face-to-face way that suits her, Leanne has been supported to access more specialist support. Also having a local person as a Peer Support Volunteer has meant that Leanne has had exposure to activities in her local area that she was unaware of, but now really enjoys and plans to continue accessing.

Find out more about Tameside Social Prescribing and make a self-referall online.

* Name changed