What does the SPACE pilot aim to achieve?

Children with neurodevelopmental impairments and conditions (e.g. cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism) form the largest group of children with disability in the UK (S Davies, Annual Report of the Chief Medical Office, 2012). More than half of families with a child with complex healthcare needs, such as those arising from neurodevelopmental impairments and conditions, have financial difficulties; nearly half express unmet non-medical service needs, and a third express difficulty accessing non-medical services (Kuo D.Z. et al, 2011).

The SPACE pilot will explore social prescribing for children with complex chronic conditions - integrating the hospital and community settings. We will test our approach by working with children with cerebral palsy, severe visual impairment/registered blind, epilepsy, learning disability, autism, or other chronic physical disabilities related to a neurological condition.

This is the first project of its kind. The majority of social prescribing services are based in primary care and focus on adults. This project will explore how social prescribing approaches can be adapted to support children and their families, when they are accessing hospital services.

The project is a partnership project between the Great North Children’s Hospital and Ways to Wellness. It is due to run for two years, to February 2024.


What is Social Prescribing?

Social prescribing is the use of non-medical interventions to achieve sustained healthy behaviour change and improved self-care. Social prescribing supplements the support a patient gets from their healthcare professional.

Healthcare professionals 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’. Social prescribing aims to empower people with social, emotional or practical needs to find solutions which will improve their health and wellbeing, often using and participating in services provided by the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.

For more information about Ways to Wellness’ experience of delivering social prescribing, this recent report includes more information about our social prescribing service for people with long term conditions.

Click here for more detail about what we deliver or here for how to get involved.

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Posted April 23rd 2024

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I felt my Link Worker was on the same wavelength as me and I could trust her to help me.