With the current NHS crisis, funding issues and post pandemic backlog, the need for preventative approaches and non-medical interventions are more important than ever. This is where social prescribing and the WEA comes in.

What is social prescribing? Social prescribing is a procedure that supports health and wellbeing by connecting individuals with activities, groups and services in their local area. At the WEA, we know that health and wellbeing outcomes are just as important as employment outcomes when considering education, and that adult education is a great option when looking for social prescribing routes. 

As such, we have developed a range of popular offers including those that support mental health, such as confidence building and resilience. Our courses also include digital support for wellbeing, gentle exercise, and cooking on a budget. 

The impact of our social prescribing offer is evidenced by the research we undertake and shows that, for example, following a WEA course: 

91% of our learners made at least one fewer visit to their GP compared to the national average 

83% said it improved their mental health conditions 

74% of our students said their course helps them keep their mind active 

 Of course, working alongside other VCS organisations, Social Prescribing Link Workers and health providers means that we increase our effectiveness. But like many adult education providers, we face the constant challenge of lack of or diminishing funding particularly for social prescribing activities. 

Without access to increased funding providers like us will continue to face huge challenges. But we want to end on a positive note and celebrate our contribution to supporting health and wellbeing on National Social Prescribing Day 14th March 2024! 

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About the author

Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.