Building capacity in staff to promote social prescribing

Toolkit to help build capacity in local communities and service systems

The Toolkit to Build Capacity in Local Communities and Service Systems illustrates essential principles, skills and knowledge to help build capacity to set up social prescribing and self-management schemes in various settings.


Elements to building capacity

Building capacity to connect people to sources of support and opportunities within the community is an important step that involves a number of different elements (see toolkit for further information):

  • Influencing strategic planning processes to recognise and endorse social prescribing for mental health as an important area of work that can promote health and reduce inequalities.  This might mean working through the local Community Planning Partnership, or the structures responsible for health and social care, or planning groups for. 
  • Raising awareness among service providers about mental health and inequalities and about what promotes and damages mental health
  • Developing systems -   
    • Collecting, promoting and maintaining in accessible format information on services and opportunities in the local community
    • Mechanisms for signposting or referring that match people with a relevant activity
    • Providing support for self-management 
    • Development of volunteering
  • Workforce development: to equip frontline practitioners with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence.  This covers skills such motivational interviewing and related techniques to promote behaviour change; community development approaches, and inequalities sensitive practice
  • Partnership development to ensure that appropriate links and relationships are in place between sectors i.e. health care  and the voluntary sector, to facilitate effective planning and development of services



Useful weblinks

University of York - Evidence to inform the commissioning of social prescribing

Social prescribing for mental health – a guide to commissioning and delivery

NHS Tayside – BBC News

Developing a Social Prescribing Approach for Bristol (2013)

NHS Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group - Social prescribing for mental health: an integrated approach