Mary's Social Prescribing Story

“I like the sound of that, it’s lovely to sing with others"

Mary, a 74-year-old, Audenshaw resident was referred into Action Together’ Social Prescribing team, after a visit to Tameside Hospital, for treatment of a fractured wrist. Whilst under their supervision, the team at Tameside Hospital, spoke to Mary about her homelife asking her how she coped and what support she had available. Mary told the team that she lived alone and although was very well supported by her daughter who lives nearby, she does get lonely and feels isolated. The team at Tameside Hospital are setup to refer into Action Together’s Social Prescribing offer and recognise the impact that Social Prescribing can have on an individual’s wellbeing, including reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, achieved by the connections it enables people to make. Mary was informed by the team at Tameside Hospital about Social Prescribing and welcomed a referral.

 

Mary was assigned to Sue, Social Prescribing Officer for Denton, Audenshaw and Droylsden. Sue works with clients that live in specific areas in Tameside, but as with the wider Social Prescribing team has knowledge of community groups and services across the borough. Sue made an initial call to Mary in November 2022, introducing herself and providing detail of the referral that had been made at the hospital, to help Mary connect the referral made by the hospital team and the call that Sue was making. Sue outlined what Social Prescribing was, how she was there to work with Mary, and to find out about what Mary wanted to get from engaging with Social Prescribing. Sue used a conversational approach to gain an understanding of Mary’s life, discovering that Mary did attend local exercise groups previously, but had disengaged over the past couple of years and this had impacted her mobility as she wasn’t as active. In the first telephone call with Sue, Mary said that she had changed her mind about engaging in Social Prescribing and that she is ‘happy with her own company’; Sue respected Mary’s change in thought and asked if it would be okay to send her some information in the post about things happening locally, with Sue offering to call in a few weeks’ time, to see if Mary still felt the same. Mary liked the sound of Sue’s offer and welcomed the letter and follow-up call. Sue identified that Mary travelled around on the tram and sourced information on groups and activities that were on the tram route that Mary used.

 

As agreed, Sue called Mary to discuss the information sent to her and to see if Mary would like to continue engaging in Social Prescribing. Sue called back the following month and recognised the excitement in Mary’s voice when she spoke about the information she had received, Mary was most enthusiastic about the singing group at The Anthony Seddon Centre, in Ashton ‘I love music, I like the sound of that, it’s lovely to sing with other people.’ Mary wasn’t sure on the location of the centre, recognising this Sue offered to visit the session with Mary, and they are planning a visit in the New Year to help connect Mary with the singing group. Sue gave Mary time, space, and information of local opportunities, which in time enabled Mary to go from being reluctant to engage with Social Prescribing to very motivated and keen to engage in the activities that Sue had provided the information for. Mary and Sue will continue to work together in the coming weeks, to assist Mary in making connections in her community that will help her to alleviate the feelings of isolation and loneliness that she has been experiencing.

 

To find out more about Social Prescribing in Tameside, call the team on 0161 830 6833 Monday – Friday, 09:00 to 16:00 or email us socialprescribing@actiontogether.org.uk

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