More than 60 people attended our 2023 Social Prescribing Day partner event in Tower Hamlets. The Care Group, alongside joint Social Prescribing Innovation Fund partner, St Margaret’s House, welcomed a range of organisations, such as Social Action for Health and Voicebox Theatre, who have been supporting our joint Men’s Project.
The day was interactive and packed full of informative sessions and engagement. Care Group Social Prescribing Manager Sahdia Warraich gave an overview of Social Prescribing in Tower Hamlets, the background and aims of the Social Prescribing Innovation Fund project and her reflections on the men's engagement work that has been carried out so far.
Sahdia commented: “The Men’s project is an important piece of work for us as we want to improve access to Social Prescribing for men. Last year 41% of our patients accessing Social Prescribing were men and we hope the engagement/co-production work we are carrying out will help us build on this.
“We hope that we increase the numbers of men coming to us for support through a better understanding of the barriers they experience and the information we have gathered on their needs.”
Highlights of the day included a series of interactive exercises under the theme “Five Ways to Wellbeing” facilitated by Outside Edge Theatre. Elle Charlton from London Arts and Health also gave a presentation on “Engaging Men in Social Prescribing”.
A delicious networking lunch was provided by Hooyo East, Women's Inclusive Team.
The event also gave a wonderful opportunity to hear reflections directly from male social prescribers.
What they said:
“There are more females accessing services in general for most services in Tower Hamlets, this also reflects primary care and general practice. This may be due to differences in employment status and the fact that men often do not prioritise themselves.
Shamimuz Zaman - Social Prescriber
“Men are too scared to come forward in sharing/ disclosing their issues/ problems and keep things inwards, hence the low level of participation and accessing services in the community.”
Muhammad Miah – Social Prescriber
“My perception is that men do not access social prescribing services as activities may not be men-only and these services are often oversubscribed”
Abdullah Monsur – Social Prescriber
“The Social Prescribing team has had an immense positive impact already with the residents of this borough. It would be even more amazing to have more male patients benefit from this service which has benefited hundreds of others.”
Chayad Miah - Social Prescriber
Freddie Beard from Voicebox Theatre led on an engagement session and shared some preliminary findings from the seven programme workshops recently held. There were some useful insights from the workshops. When asked “what do you do that is good for your wellbeing?” Responses included: Sleep, exercise, healthy eating, walking, talking to friends, reading, taking medication on time, music and gardening.
Likewise, when asked “what stops you from doing things that are good for your wellbeing/engaging in social prescribing?” Responses included: Being too busy, being too tired from work, lack of awareness of Social Prescribing, stigma, being seen as a sign of weakness and not being allowed to express feelings.
Summarising what was a truly uplifting day, Laura Furner, Arts and Wellbeing Producer, St Margaret's House, said: “It was wonderful to bring together colleagues from across Tower Hamlets to share learnings on social prescribing in the borough, and to explore how we can develop our offerings to engage more men in social prescribing activities. We hope to continue to build alliances between organisations to strengthen and support social prescribing services in Tower Hamlets.”
Visit our Social Prescribing page.