Social Prescribing: Connecting the people in Bristol who want to make changes to improve their wellbeing with local support & activity providers who can help them.
“It's an excellent social prescribing service and has been especially valuable to our patients in a deprived area, using volunteers has been effective and powerful so keep this up” - Local GP
Bristol SPEAR, a gateway to wellbeing in the community
We are a network of community ‘touch-points’ that allow people to get help with their immediate needs; access advice and support so they can better manage their health and wellbeing; and to build their resilience, both as individuals and as a community.
Who we are
SPEAR is a partnership of community anchor organisations in Bristol working together to address the health inequalities in low-income areas of our city.
We all work to the assets-based approach to health and wellbeing, using social prescribing link workers based in GP surgeries situated in Bristol’s areas of highest need.
What we do
As established community anchors we develop connections and build trust with local residents from different communities and backgrounds.
Under SPEAR we offer a range of activities, from physical activities to arts on referral. But we don’t do it all – we support people to engage with other groups and organisations, and if there isn’t a suitable activity, then we support them to do it themselves!
Find a provider
We have experienced social prescribing link workers based in various GP surgeries in Bristol. We usually meet the client in the GP surgery, but can also meet them in community venues.
GPs and other healthcare professionals can make direct referrals from an embedded form on their EMIS system, or alternatively encourage patients to make contact themselves.
* The number of clients who reported an improvement in their wellbeing.
Social Prescribing Service Delivery Points
If you're a health professional who would like to find out more about the services available for your patients you can use the tool below to find your nearest service delivery point: For patient convenience, we are based in several GP Surgeries throughout Bristol.
- Single point of Access for all patients over 18 years of age with a non-clinical need
- Referrals via GPs and other HCPs using a referral form (on EMIS) or encouraging self referrals
- SPEAR triages for BCH’s Community Navigators (patients over 50 years and house-bound)
- Provides the ‘pill’ end:
Arts on Referral, known as Artlight
Kitchen on Prescription
Walking for Health
Support for volunteers
Delivering social prescribing in Bristol
Community Anchor Organisations
- Delivered by organisations that are embedded and trusted by the local community, with relationships built over many years.
- Owned and run by a board of trustees from the local community so employees are directly accountable to local residents.
- Provide genuine opportunities for local residents to influence some of the factors that affect their health and that of their community.
- Psychologically-informed environments: accepting, safe, non-stigmatising and welcoming
Rooted in Marmot's Recommendations:
- People from these communities live with daily threats and stresses - insecure employment, unstable and poor housing, debt and poverty.
- Central to the programme is access to information, advice and guidance agencies, along with employment and training support.
- We create conditions for self-care by working holistically with clients to build self-esteem and agency. Self-care is a challenge and we do not all have the same starting point
We really understand our communities
- We estimate approximately 70% of our clients have experienced some type of trauma, particularly relationship trauma such as domestic violence and abuse, and many have lived their early years typified by adverse childhood experiences.
- Many have engaged with primary and secondary mental health services yet have not ‘recovered’.
- Residents experience many barriers to adopting a healthy lifestyle
- Many have medically unexplained symptoms such as chronic pain
Building resilient communities
- We work to avoid the cliff that comes with the end of an ‘intervention’ as there are opportunities for move-on
- Underpinned by the approach known as Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), we support local residents to develop their own groups and activities and to see themselves as someone with something to offer.
- We provide opportunities for people to create relationships with others living in the community, so people experience a sense of connectedness and belonging.
Whether it's diet, creativity, exercise, advice, mindfulness or social interaction - our services are accessible to all:
Healthy Eating and Cooking
Arts & Crafts
Social Support Groups
Practical Advice & Support
Find out more about SPEAR
For further information about SPEAR, or for any queries regarding our goals for social prescribing throughout Bristol, please contact:
Head of Services
Wellspring Healthy Living Centre
Bristol BS5 9QY
* From 1st July to 31st December 2018, the number of clients who reported an improvement in their wellbeing using Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (short questionnaire) was 88%, where n=304