Social Prescribing is a means of enabling GPs and other frontline healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker - to provide them with a face to face conversation during which they can learn about the possibilities and design their own personalised solutions, i.e. ‘co-produce’ their ‘social prescription’- so that people with social, emotional or practical needs are empowered to find solutions which will improve their health and wellbeing, often using services provided by the voluntary and community sector. It is an innovative and growing movement, with the potential to reduce the financial burden on the NHS and particularly on primary care.


The Social Prescribing Network consists of health professionals, researchers, academics, social prescribing practitioners, representatives from the community and voluntary sector, commissioners and funders, patients and citizens. We are working together to share knowledge and best practice, to support social prescribing at a local and national levels and to inform good quality research and evaluation. Over the past year, we have worked with many different organisations to launch International Social Prescribing Day and The Social Prescribing Network Awards.



Understanding the 'what', 'how' and 'why' of social prescribing is really important to us. Supporting good quality research and evaluation will tell us what is working well and what could be done better.  We provide strategic advice and support to funding bodies, we help researchers to find participants for their social prescribing research and we disseminate the latest research in our newsletters. Ultimately we support the need to put people at the heart of social prescribing research and evaluation.


Successful social prescribing schemes are locally designed to suit the people they are aimed at.  This means embedding core principles into the design, as opposed to using one standardised model.  We will support stakeholders as much as we can to understand how to get started.  We will endeavour to connect you with people in your region that are already active with social prescribing so you can find out what is already happening and connect on a more local level.  We also try to support as many events and conferences, providing speakers who may have expertise in a particular aspect of social prescribing.


Bringing people together is the heart of the Social Prescribing Network.  We love the buzz when passionate people come together to share their expertise and knowledge.  As so many different stakeholder groups are necessary to make social prescribing happen, learning from each other and understanding different points of view becomes essential.   Generally, each regional network hosts 1-2 conferences a year.  The Social Prescribing Network also aims to provide two international conferences each year.  One is a very practical based conference picking up the key areas to discuss as social prescribing spreads and evolves.  The second one is a research-specific conference, to critically examine the data.


To share the cost of the conferences we need to collaborate with organisations.  If you want to collaborate on a conference with us, then please contact us.



Dr. Marie Polley and Dr. Michael Dixon co-chair the network.


The steering committee is made up of a number of stakeholders from different backgrounds who each bring their own area of expertise.


The link below provides biographies for our committee members.


The Social Prescribing Network is proud to partner with The College of Medicine. We also work regularly with  The Conservation Volunteers, The 
Wellcome Library
, NHS England and Public Health England.


We have a variety of resources and key documents to help people commissioning, running and evaluating social prescribing schemes.

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Making sense of social prescribing

This document covers various aspects including:
What is social prescribing
Why do social prescribing
What do different models look like
What makes a good link worker
What makes a good referral
Governance, risk management and evaluation

Women Holding Hands

A review of the evidence assessing impact of social prescribing to healthcare demand and cost implications

This piece of work has critically appraised the current data that is available on healthcare demand and social prescribing and cost implications. We hope that it will be of use to a range of stakeholders as you continue to write business cases and strategically plan to implement or scale up social prescribing.


Making a Difference

We see every challenge as an opportunity, and this initiative helps us ensure that our partners are better prepared to manage the unique situations they find themselves in. We are invested in an innovative approach that empowers communities and delivers the support they need.