Steering Committee

Siân Brand

Siân Brand

Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network

Siân is a freelance consultant who currently supports the East of England Regional NHS Social Prescribing in the development and embedding of evidence based, high quality and safe social prescribing. She is also a national social prescribing tutor. Sian is passionate about asset-based approaches to community health and well-being and driving culture change to support people to achieve good health & well-being.

Siân has facilitated development of whole system collaborative models of social prescribing across the country as well as supporting development of key national guidance for social prescribing including the national competency framework and supervision support for Link Workers.

Siân worked for 15 years in local NHS commissioning, rooted in public health.  During this time, she has acquired local expertise and knowledge in the voluntary and community sector. Siân’s career golden thread is developing partnership working and collaboration across local systems.  Sian is trained in quality improvement methodology and uses these skills to support transformational change in organisations.

Siân lives in Essex and enjoys walking in nature, qigong, yoga and photography, and has recently qualified as an accredited health coach.

Dr Michael Dixon

Dr Michael Dixon

Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network

Michael has held numerous national leadership roles including: - The first Chair of NHS Alliance (1998-2016), President of NHS Clinical Commissioners and as a leader within the GP/clinical commissioning movement.  He is currently Chair of the College of Medicine, Chair of The Institute for Social Prescription and Medical Advisor to HRH The Prince of Wales.  He is Visiting Professor at University College London and at the University of Westminster, a Senior Fellow in Public Policy (University of Birmingham) and an Honorary Senior Lecturer (Peninsula Medical School Exeter).  He is author of “Time to Heal” Unicorn Press Nov. 2020.

Sonya Elnaschie

Sonya Elnaschie

Social Prescribing Network Coordinator

Sonya initially trained as a Physiotherapist at the University of Southampton and has worked in NHS & private setting both in the UK & abroad. Having a keen interest in holistic and preventative health care, she went on to complete a degree in Western Herbal Medicine at the University of Westminster and volunteering with the College of Medicine Student Strategy Group which lead to her working with the Social Prescribing Network after graduation.

Sonya works independently as a medical herbalist and nutritional therapist, as well as being a guest lecturer at the University of Westminster and Betonica school of herbal medicine.

The Social Prescribing Network has been an opportunity for Sonya to contribute to meaningful changes in how healthcare is delivered & work towards addressing health inequalities on a larger scale than she has been able to as an individual practitioner.

Dr Marie Polley

Dr Marie Polley

Co-Founder of the Social Prescribing Network

Marie is a freelance research consultant, past Chair of the British Society for Integrative Oncology, trained as a biomedical scientist and has a PhD in molecular carcinogenesis.  Marie led the team to write the first national guidance for social prescribing, the first economic overview of social prescribing on health service usage and recently mapped all outcomes associated with social prescribing to support discussion on inclusive ways of researching and evaluating this growing field. Marie provides advice to senior leaders, Members of Parliament and the House of Lords, key stakeholders, researchers and organisations in this field.

For the past 14 years, Marie has researched and taught about approaches to integrating different paradigms of health and wellbeing, in her role as Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences and Research at the University of Westminster. 

Marie is also Co-Director of Meaningful Measures which licences the person-centred outcome measures MYMOP® and MYCaW® and supports many organisations to capture the full impact of their social prescribing and personalised care schemes.

Marie is also a Usui Reiki Master, a voluntary youth worker for her local church, loves getting out in nature and when near the sea will willingly jump on a surfboard and (attempt to) catch some waves.

ALYSON MCGREGOR MBE

ALYSON MCGREGOR MBE

Alyson is the founder and Director of Altogether Better, an NHS national network organization who offer solutions to the challenges and problems the NHS is facing. Working closely with practices and PCNs, Altogether Better help staff to work alongside volunteer Practice Health Champions as part of a new extended team. This work involves supporting staff to develop the skills, mindset and culture needed to tackle the problems medicine alone cannot fix. Alyson was voted by the HSJ as one of the top 50 inspirational women leaders in the NHS and was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year's Honours List for services to Collaborative Practice and Service Development in the NHS.

She has over 30 years’ experience working in a range of roles in the public, private and voluntary sector which meet the health and well -being needs of patients, people and communities. She has over 9 years board level experience. Alyson is a founding member of the National Social Prescribing Steering Group. She believes a sustainable solution to the challenges faced by the NHS lies in improving the quality of our relationship with people in communities by tapping into the kindness and generosity of people in communities to work alongside people in health services.

JANE HARTLEY

JANE HARTLEY

Jane is the North East & North Cumbria (NENC) Social Prescribing Facilitator working with NHSE to support the development and embedding of social prescribing across the North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS). She is also the NASP Thriving Communities Programme Co-ordinator for North East & Yorkshire Region.

Jane has many years of experience working in the North East England voluntary sector primarily with a focus on health & wellbeing. She led on the development of award-winning north-east charity: Pioneering Care Partnership and their healthy living centre: the Pioneering Care Centre. She is now the Health & Wellbeing Lead and former Chief Executive of VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East) the regional infrastructure body supporting the voluntary sector. Through her role with VONNE, she is leading the NENC voluntary, community & social enterprise (VCSE) sector Leadership Programme, part of an NHS England & Improvement funded programme to support the VCSE to have a greater voice and influence within the Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

Jane is also Vice Chair of Ways to Wellness, the Social Impact Bond funded Social Prescribing Programme targeting people with long term health conditions in Newcastle West. She is a Trustee of Greggs Foundation and sits on their Grants Sub Committee, and Northern Heartlands CIO engaging and supporting disadvantaged communities through the arts primarily in the Durham Dales area.

Debs Teale

Debs Teale

Debs is an advocate of creativity in health following her own remarkable journey. Having being in the mental health system for most of her life and heavily dependent on medication it took an art class to totally transform her life. She has been medication free for over 10 years and out of services for nearly 6 years. She advocates creativity as an additional service to improve wellbeing and offering hope and aspiration. She has completed a MSc in mental health recovery and social Inclusion. Debs is a Trustee at the National Centre for Creative Health as well as a member of the Social Prescribing Network and Social Prescribing Academy.

Debs often does talks on her journey and this has taken her to the NHS Expo and as far as the WHO in Helsinki. She has a passion to promote everyone having a voice and a choice in their own care, something she felt lacked in her own journey. Debs believes everyone has something to bring to the table, even if it is just themselves.

PAUL JARVIS BEESLEY
Social Prescribing Youth Network Form

PAUL JARVIS BEESLEY

Prior to joining the national anti-youth poverty charity, StreetGames, in 2008, Paul spent twenty years running an outdoor education charity then four years working on Physical Activity Policy at the Department of Health & Social Care. He has been Vice Chair of the World Health Organisation’s Healthy City Partnership in Brighton & Hove, and a Director of Brighton Carnival. He has also worked for Sport England and the Arts Council on physical activity. He holds a Masters Degree in NGO Management. In 2017, Paul founded the Social Prescribing Youth Network that now has 884 members across the UK.

Jo Robins

Jo Robins

Jo is an experienced Public Health Consultant, from the NHS/Local Government. Since working independently she has held roles covering system transformation, diagnostics, peer review, quality improvement, public health, service re-design, programme delivery, and the creation of new service and team models. She thrives in an environment requiring change, is able to think to the future but can ground national policy into local action by influencing and working with multiple partners. She has managed complex projects and uses transformational change models to achieve change. She has highly developed facilitation skills and has worked as a trainer with Eurohealthnet, a respected European Public Health Network, is trained in quality improvement methodology, as a peer reviewer with LGID and is on the voluntary register for public health. She believes passionately in working with early years and schools settings as one of main areas to improve health and wellbeing for children.

Tim Anfilogoff

Tim Anfilogoff

Tim joined the steering group of the National Social Prescribing (SP) Network in January 2016 having developed the Community Navigator service in West Herts in 2014.  He co-authored Making Sense of Social Prescribing in 2017 and is NHSE/I SP Facilitator for the East of England and co-chair of the Core Group of the Thriving Communities programme of the National Academy for SP.  In 2018, with Dr Marie-Anne Essam he provided mentoring to the Alliance of Ontario Community Health Centres who went on to win the first international social prescribing award in 2019.

Tim has worked on the carers’ agenda for over thirty years, in the voluntary sector, in social care, for the Department of Health (managing the national carers’ strategy 1999-2001) and most recently for the NHS as Head of Community Resilience for the two Herts CCGs.  

A carer himself, Tim is a trustee of Carers UK and speaks nationally and internationally on carers and SP.  Tim also serves on the Economic and Social Research Council Advisory Board on Sustainable Care.  A recent podcast on how social prescribing can help family carers is available here: CARE MATTERS podcast: Dan Williamson and Tim Anfilogoff (shef.ac.uk)

Malcolm Bray

Malcolm Bray

I have been supporting the development of social prescribing in the South East Region for many years through commissioning and delivering social prescribing projects and facilitating networks. Recently having two associate roles Regional Social Prescribing Facilitator and Social Prescribing Learning Coordinator and work as part of the Regional Personalised Care and the NHSE&I Social Prescribing teams.

In recent years I have provided leadership in developing Wellbeing Hubs and social prescribing. I am particularly enjoyed my work to improve the lives of people living with dementia and creating the Crawley Dementia Alliance and the award-winning Dementia Friendly Crawley Programme.

I am committed to improving health and wellbeing in communities and have managed innovative approaches using action research methods to develop social prescribing programmes. I have a special interest in health psychology and social prescribing.

Having completed an MSc in Health Psychology passing with distinction and winning the British Psychological Society Health Psychology Division prize for an MSc Dissertation which explored the lived experience of being diagnosed with dementia I continue to maintain a keen interest in this area of research.

In addition to my work in the South East Region I am the Oxfordshire Training Hub Lead for their exciting new programme to develop comprehensive support and training and development for social prescribing link workers and also a member of the National Social Prescribing Network Committee.

Dr Marcello Bertotti

Dr Marcello Bertotti

Marcello has 20 years' work experience in research and evaluation of community health interventions, social enterprise, asset-based approaches to health, and social prescribing. Marcello has led research projects for a range of national (e.g. NHS), regional (Greater London Authority) and local government (Redbridge council) institutions as well as UK research councils (NIHR, ESRC, AHRC) and is now leading the evaluation of a major European Commission funded project on using social prescribing models to support NEET groups in Italy and Portugal.   Marcello has used a range of methodologies and approaches to evaluation including realist evaluation, social network analysis, asset mapping and used approaches to systematic reviews including meta-narrative and systematic mapping to study health interventions and communities. He is a co-founder of the international social prescribing network and of the social prescribing youth network. He also co-delivers an accredited Level 3 certificate in social prescribing.
Dr Michelle Howarth

Dr Michelle Howarth

Michelle has a specialist interest in social prescribing and the use of nature based, person centred approaches to promote health and wellbeing. Michelle is passionate about promoting personalised care to support people with long term conditions and leads the National Social Prescribing Network Special Interest Group for Nursing through which she is actively campaigning to raise awareness of social prescribing amongst nurses through research, curriculum development and placement opportunities.
David Cowan

David Cowan

I am very excited to be part of the movement and growing evidence base that Social Prescribing works and am really enjoying being the lead facilitator and learning coordinator for the NHSE Social Prescribing Network for Yorkshire and Humber. I am still very passionate about sharing the learning gained during two years of the Vanguard programme and wave one Prime Ministers Challenge Fund programme. During this New Model of Care Programme, I developed the social prescribing model in Wakefield and a Social Prescribing assessment tool, which was endorsed by NICE and is free for any service who wants to use it. Currently I am an associate tutor delivering level 3 qualifications in Social Prescribing for Conexus Healthcare UK, in partnership with Bromley-by-Bow and University of East London.

I am proud to have led a Care Navigation 'active sign posting' consultancy and training programme, at Conexus Healthcare, which has received some national recognition. It was fantastic that the Care Navigation work I led during the MCP Vanguard in Wakefield was recognised in the GP Forward View 2016. As well as winning General Practice Awards 2017 for 'Developing the Practice Team' this work was awarded Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network best example of 'Adoption and Diffusion'. Furthermore, the training and consultancy programme I have led, has been awarded General Practice Award 2018 ‘Training Provider of the Year’. During the same year the care navigation training programme that I led won the HSJ Value Award – Improving the Value of Primary Care Services and HSJ Award – Primary Care Service Redesign.

I am a Development Advisor on the Time for Care Programme at NHS England and NHS Improvement. The focus of this role is to use quality improvement methodologies to help practice teams manage their workload, adopt and spread innovations that free-up clinical time for care, and develop the skills and confidence to lead local improvement.

I was lucky enough to have spent some time volunteering in Nepal for NIDS Nepal's Indigenous Development Society during my Youth and Community BA (Hons). I have a professional background in third sector, local authority and NHS with a Master’s Degree focused in Public Health - Health Promotion from Leeds Beckett University.

Jo Ward

Jo Ward

Jo is a freelance consultant working at the interface between health and a broader equity agenda. She is steadfast in her commitment to addressing the causes of health inequality. She describes herself as a Change Maker. She is also passionate about the NHS and the role of arts and culture to make good happen. She likes to squeeze between the gaps in organisational infrastructure and cut across sectoral divides to join stuff up. She manages a social prescribing portfolio with NHS England and the social prescribing network, curates Health Education England’s prevention programme. She manages a series of creative health pilots for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health Care Partnership covering maternity and early years as well as supporting a staff social prescribing initiative. She also delivers an annual wellbeing programme for Museum Development Yorkshire.