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Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre

Wellbeing Scripts

Social Prescription Project

Imagine if we could reduce the pressure on health services by 20%, whilst increasing the resilience and health of people in our communities, creating better places to live.

The evidence is in – it is possible. By creating stronger links and pathways between health practitioners and community we improve our framework for wellbeing, supporting medical interventions as well as social connection - both essential in wellness. Our approach draws on the fundamentals of Social Prescription – people, opportunity and trust, to build a fit-for-purpose Australian model from the ground up.

‘Social Prescription’ is a system where doctors can refer people to community activities, reducing the strain on the medical system and improving medical results for people. Developed in the U.K., Social Prescription started out as a simple place-based approach to health - connecting people through community, to support health and wellbeing. Over the past three decades it has become a complex and internationally recognised system with real and meaningful success.

In early 2020 the Central Highlands Association of Neighbourhood Houses (CNANH) met with Health Futures Australia and the Ballarat Subdivision of the Australian Medical Association to develop the concept of Wellbeing Scripts – our ‘take’ on Social Prescription, or, how we might develop Social Prescription in a regional, Australian setting.

In June 2020 we were successfully funded by the Australian Government to begin prototyping and raising awareness of the value of social connection for wellbeing.

Source: Central Highlands Association of Neighbourhood Houses (CHANH), Blog post, 14 July 2020 

Read more about Wellbeing Scripts from the Central Highlands Association of Neighbourhood Houses Blog.

What is social prescribing?

While social prescribing is an considered an emerging service offering in Victoria, Social Prescribing has been described in the following ways:

  1. Social prescribing is a process enabling GPs, nurses and other health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services to improve their physical, mental, social and/or spiritual health and wellbeing outcomes. Most programs involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access suitable activities and support. People may, for example, be referred to exercise classes or group activities to help increase their social connections. Modified from Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.
  2. Social prescribing is a means of connecting people to a range of non-clinical services in the community to improve their health and well-being. Modified from WHO Social Prescribing Toolkit.
  3. Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers. Social prescribing links them to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports. Modified from National Academy for Social Prescribing UK.

Outstanding commitment to health and wellbeing celebrated as 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards finalists unveiled

9 December 2021 - From the VicHealth Media Release

41 incredible organisations and individuals committed to improving the health and wellbeing of their communities have been unveiled today as finalists in the 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards. Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley said the awards acknowledge extraordinary people, groups and projects that have made a vital difference to communities across Victoria in the past 2 years.

“The 2021 Victorian Health Promotion Awards recognise some of our state’s remarkable people and organisations. The 41 finalists unveiled today have gone above and beyond to support their community’s health and wellbeing during what has been an incredibly challenging time,” Minister Foley said. “This year’s awards recognise a wide range of initiatives, many of which have supported communities to reconnect and rebuild following the impacts of the global pandemic and the 2020 bushfires.”

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said more than 150 outstanding organisations and individuals were nominated for awards this year. “These awards are a chance to recognise and celebrate the inspiring individuals and dedicated organisations working tirelessly to make our communities happier and healthier,” Dr Demaio said. “The 41 finalists include a vast range of people and projects, including those working to empower young people, deliver healthy food to communities doing it tough, and support people to take care of their mental wellbeing or get active.

Category: Building Back Better:

We have been challenged like never before by the global pandemic and extreme weather events, but the resilience of people across Victoria has shone through. This category recognises a health promotion organisation or program that has been creative and impactful in supporting recovery and improving the health and wellbeing of their community following the impact of coronavirus and/or the bushfires. The finalists are: 

  • Central Highlands Association of Neighbourhood Houses – Wellbeing Scripts System Building
  • cohealth – Cooking, Recovery and Connections
  • Flemington Mission – Caring for our Community
  • Mirboo Country Development Inc – BooFIIT
  • North Richmond Community Health – High Risk Accommodation Response

While VicHealth acknowledges the incredible efforts of frontline health workers during the pandemic, these awards are about celebrating the broader health and wellbeing initiatives that have taken place across the state.

For information, please visit the VicHealth website.