World Mental Health Day – Social Prescribing

This World Mental Health Day we have asked groups and organisations who work with those suffering with their mental health to put together a blog detailing who they are, what they do and the support they can offer to the individuals and communities in Milton Keynes.

Read more to find out about Social Prescribing in Milton Keynes from a Social Prescribing Link Worker …

‘Social Prescribing is an approach to empower people to have the best wellbeing possible through engagement with the community.’

Social Prescribing was introduced in London in 2016 when a priest was noticing the health inequalities in his parish and wanted to help to reduce these and the impact it had on the mental and physical wellbeing of his parishioners. Since then, it has become a nationwide service for patients within GP practices as a holistic way to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

This philosophy has been embraced within the NHS and at The Bridge PCN (Newport Pagnell Medical Centre and Kingfisher Surgery) in Milton Keynes. We have been doing this for four years and we are getting excellent results for our patients.

We know when everything in our lives is going well, we feel great, however when issues are not being addressed, through a gap in a service for example, or you get the feeling you do not know where to turn to, this can cause a huge negative impact on our wellbeing. Health professionals are recognising the social prescribing need when their patients come for their appointments, and they can readily refer to us for the extra support they need.

As social prescribing link workers, we can give patients more time to discuss the problems they are
facing and really delve into the issues to help to reach long term solutions. Our aim is to link patients to their community services, if you are isolated, lonely or have housing or money issues for example. We help to facilitate personalised outcomes to improve/maintain health and wellbeing using community connections; research and make sure services/community resources are appropriate and details are accurate before signposting. We also link and network with other services, agencies, and charities and identify gaps in community groups. In addition to this we carry out partnership work with other Health and Social Care Professionals to provide the best care possible.

We receive referrals from GPs, nurses, physio therapists and other health professionals in the medical centres we work in. These are referrals for things the doctor or other health professionals are unable to help with – nonmedical/ nonclinical needs that we all have, which impact on our general health and wellbeing. 

Who is this for?

  • People who need short term intervention to improve their health and wellbeing
  • People living with more than one long term condition for example: heart disease, diabetes, COPD, Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Arthritis  
  • People with complicated social circumstances for example homelessness, chaotic lifestyle, poor housing, poverty, domestic abuse, migrant  
  • Frail older people for example: muscle weakness, sight impairment, poor mobility, hearing impairment, housebound, tiredness 
  • People suffering from loneliness, isolation, bereavement, finance troubles, housing issues
  • People with low level managed mental health difficulties 

This is not an exhaustive list as there are many reasons for referrals, however this will give you an
idea of who we support.

We help enable patients to improve their health and wellbeing by giving our patients time to talk with us over the telephone, home visits, consultations in the surgery or where they feel comfortable to meet.  We can facilitate a personalised care and support plan and goals which can/will empower our patients to take active steps to meet their health and well-being goals. 

We help to:

  • Enable patients to access community groups and health and social services.
  • Support with connecting patients to others in similar situations.
  • Provide practical help with tasks e.g., giving you useful information.

We can make referrals to other services within primary care such as: mental health, occupational therapy, physio and much more.

It is short term support that is hopefully exponential outside of Social Prescribing support; however, if we have discharged a patient who may need further social prescribing support in the future, i.e. one issue may have been supported but others arise; then our patients can self-refer back to us directly, or go back to their GP surgery for another referral. 

To access the service, they will need to be registered at a surgery. If they do not have a fixed address, there are ‘Safe Surgeries’ such as Newport Pagnell Medical Centre, who have removed this health inequality so access can be made to medical support, as well as the additional role support services like Social Prescribing.

If within the community, you feel anyone may benefit from social prescribing please signpost them to their GP surgery.

Blog Post

Coping with the Cost of Living

The increases in the cost of living are ever prevalent, but there are both local and national organisations that can provide help and support.

Cost of Living Payments

If you are claiming a low-income benefit and think that you are entitled to a Cost of Living Payment, you
don’t need to do anything. You’ll get the payments automatically. The first instalment of the £650 Cost of Living Payments will be paid automatically to eligible people, between 14 – 31 July. The remaining £324 will be paid in autumn. To find out more visit Cost of Living Payment .

Help for Households: a summary of government support.

General Articles

Cost of living: Why are things so hard for so many people? – BBC News

Citizens Advice Monthly Briefing on Cost of Living Crisis

The energy crisis: impact on charities | Harrison Clark Rickerbys (

Guardian article – impact on single parents and their children 

ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations has compiled a range of links to reports, surveys and data sources to support civil society leaders to understand the impact of the Cost of Living crisis.

Keeping Warm

Good Law Project

Regularly publishing ‘Empowered’ articles on different themes related to the cost-of-living support available and consumer rights.

The first article examines energy bill support and discounts.

The second article explains how to claim the benefits you’re entitled to.

The third article helps with understanding the rules on energy disconnection and prepayment meters.

Do you have a combi boiler?

Changing your boiler settings, could potentially cut gas use by 6-8% without changing room temperature. Nesta have launched a prototype tool to help optimise their heating:

Octopus Energy – Free electric blankets for our most vulnerable

Find out more and register your interest here.

Transition town Milton Keynes

Local community group promoting local action for low-carbon living. Their website offers a range of ideas related to improving energy efficiency of households that could help with reducing costs.

SuperHomes scheme and newsletters: practical advice on keeping homes well-insulated and warm. 

Better Housing and Better Health

Offer impartial advice on reducing heating bills and keeping warm.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

Champion of consumer rights, his website provides a wealth of information on coping strategies and ways to reduce household bills.

National Energy Foundation, Warm Home Discount

Those who need it most can get £140 (inclusive of VAT) off their electricity bill in the winter (September – March). NEF also issues Emergency Energy Cards.

Citizens Advice Bureau

A round up of advice, including Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments and links to energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers. CAB also provides links to support if you’re struggling with living costs.


Advice on reducing domestic energy use, sign up to their newsletter for tips.

Money Advice, Budgeting and Funding

MK Money Lifeline

Offering free confidential money advice and resources to anyone in the Milton Keynes area. Their services are provided by a team of trained volunteers who give advice in accordance with the training provided by Community Money Advice.

Milton Keynes Council 

Extra financial help, including assistance with rent, council tax relief, and local welfare provision.

Household support fund | Milton Keynes Council (

Funding from the Council to help residents who are in financial difficulties and struggling to meet the cost of essential items including:

  • Food
  • Energy and water bills
  • Repair or purchase of essential household appliances
  • Servicing and repair of heating systems
  • School uniform or other essential clothing
  • Other essential living costs


A national charity who offers assistance to those struggling financially.

Data Poverty: The Good Things Foundation

Supporting people with data connectivity.

Housing and Homelessness

Housing solutions and homelessness advice | Milton Keynes Council (


A national charity that helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, or the costs of housing, through  advice, support and legal services. They have a comprehensive resource bank on their website and a free emergency helpline, open Monday to Friday, 8am – 8pm and 9am – 5pm on weekends and bank holidays: 0808 800 4444. 

Winter Night Shelter

WNS support rough sleepers; people in emergency/temporary housing; people in need of support with tenancies and those at risk of homelessness.

Food and Cooking on a Budget

MK Melting Pot

MK Melting Pot aims to help young people, vulnerable families and individuals overcome hunger and integrate, empowering people from diverse cultures with new skills to overcome hardship. Some of their services include: Food Donations, Online Cooking, Employability & Training, Money Management and a Children Club. Contact details: phone – 01908 585537 email –

MK Food Bank

The Food Bank Helpline: 0300 303 4933 or text HELP 07874 964505 open between 9:00am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday. You can leave a message outside of these times.


Beginning on the 4 November at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, a chance to enjoy a free, vegetarian 3 course meal in welcoming environment. No vouchers or referrals needed.

Trussell Trust

A charity that connects people to food banks and also offers an advice line

DREAMSAI – Food charity and Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple Milton Keynes

Cooking Good – Healthy, Community Cooking (

Healthy, low-cost meal suggestions and recipes.

Reducing Fuel Use

MK Connect

Innovative and responsive public transport.

MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes. – Via Transportation (

Improving your cycling skills

Training courses – Milton Keynes (

Period Poverty

Girl Pack MK  – Girl Pack is for anyone who is in need of sanitary towels and underwear just so they can go to school or work (not means tested). Available in schools, community/children’s and family centres and local council offices all over MK. A list of venues can be found on their Facebook page.


Charity shops are good places to find a bargain and a wide variety of stock. With the cost of living crisis leaving the people with less disposable income, second-hand shopping might be a good money-saving option. Just type in ‘charity shops near me’ into your search engine to find your local charity shops.

To see other vital services available in Milton Keynes, please visit our Signposting Channels page:

Blog Post Strengthening Groups