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Mental Health Concern has led on developing the Newcastle/Gateshead Linkwork Collaborative, which has been awarded over £490,000 over three years via the government’s Health and Wellbeing Fund (HWF).

The Newcastle/Gateshead Linkwork Collaborative brings together the existing linkwork and social prescribing support services across the area, including the following services:

Social prescribing helps people to increase their social connections through access to local activities and be a more active participant in their own health and wellbeing. This, in turn, increases uptake and use of local resources in a virtuous circle: maintaining and increasing social capital and reducing reliance on NHS and social care. Research has shown that social participation increases the likelihood of recovery by up to 25%.

Through the fund, the government is investing nearly £4.5 million nationally in social prescribing programmes that refer patients to local voluntary and community services, such as walking clubs, gardening, or arts activities. Social prescribing aims to improve people’s quality of life, health, and wellbeing by recognising that health is affected by a range of social, economic, and environmental factors.

The HWF grant will enable the collaborative to:

  • Ensure capacity across the area is appropriately concentrated across those areas of highest need.
  • Provide consistency and easy access to services that can support people with health conditions including, long-term health conditions, persistent physical symptoms, and mental health issues.
  • Develop a shared language to describe local need and services, a standardised competency framework, and a single system of access.
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