Key speakers including HRH, The Prince of Wales and Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham have addressed nearly 1,000 delegates at the third International Social Prescribing Network Conference.
The heir to the throne told those attending the online event, which takes place on March 4th and 5th, that social prescribing has the power to ‘make a major contribution to some of the most important issues of our time.’
Speaking from Clarence House, the Prince said he found it ‘immensely encouraging’ to hear stories about how social prescribing had changed people’s lives, describing its ‘potential’ to transform communities as ‘seemingly never ending’.
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He urged those working in social prescribing to set an example to the rest of the world on how ‘community, collaboration and compassion in equal doses can support a person in ways that medicine on its own is unable to achieve’ and praised successful social prescribing projects across the globe, including in Canada and Singapore.
The Prince of Wales also referenced the power of the environment for maintaining mental and physical well-being, saying: ‘I have seen it first-hand, the importance of people being connected to nature and all the benefits this brings to body, mind and soul’ and said he was delighted to see more funding for research into the benefits of ‘green prescribing’.
Discussing the ‘painful’ effects of the pandemic, the Prince told attendees that social prescribing was needed ‘now more than ever’ and praised those who had found ways to continue their work despite the restrictions and financial challenges of the last 12 months.
He reserved particular praise for link workers and social prescribing schemes across all aspects of healthcare, from community projects to Primary Care, saying: “Your efforts to identify and help people in your communities have been truly extraordinary. In the most difficult of circumstances, you have continued to provide support wherever possible and this has no doubt saved lives.”
Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham also addressed the conference, saying that social prescribing fits well with Manchester’s long heritage of radical social and scientific innovation.
The city Mayor’s keynote told delegates: ‘Social prescribing’s time may have come’.
He said that the NHS was ‘still offering 20th century healthcare’ and social prescribing would be crucial ‘to rebuilding health as we come out of the pandemic.’
For a full list of speakers at the third International Social Prescribing Network Conference, click here