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Service helping people out of loneliness is a winner

Forever Active East Herts also wins public health award

A ground-breaking project to help people in East Herts out of loneliness, anxiety and isolation has scooped Hertfordshire County Council's Dr Joan Crawley Award 2019 for Public Health Excellence.

The highly respected recognition for the Social Prescribing Service (SPS) was presented to Kathrine Foy on behalf of herself and the 'behind the scenes' team including Simon Barfoot and Claire Carter.

Both the SPS and Forever Active East Herts - two East Herts Council projects - won a Public Health Excellence Award.

The primary aim of the SPS is to help vulnerable, lonely, isolated, anxious residents to connect with others and support them to improve their wellbeing, self-confidence and happiness.

Happiness and wellbeing

Eric Buckmaster, executive member for wellbeing, said: "Our aspiration is to support residents in need to raise their self-esteem, their confidence to leave their home, their general wellbeing and to put it simply, their happiness. We know that in the 15 months since it started, we've been able to significantly improve people's mental wellbeing and reduce their isolation.

"East Herts Council won two of six Public Health Excellence Awards county-wide and we're delighted with this independent recognition of our effectiveness in making our district a great place in which to live."

After arranging clinic space in five surgeries and one pharmacy service, the SPS quickly gained the support of GPs and other health professionals as well as partner agencies.

The council meets the client and agree a joint action plan which includes signposting them to age-appropriate community groups and help with transport and financial issues by working with clubs and societies, charities, NHS and other council departments.

Kathrine Foy said: "It's been immensely satisfying to see how we've been able to help residents feel so much better after meeting the person face-to-face and agreeing some ideas together.

"I was thrilled to receive the award on behalf of myself and the team. And of course none of it would have been possible without the financial support of the council."

Forever Active

Forever Active East Herts (FAEH) improved the health and wellbeing of residents aged 50+ through subsidised classes of gentle activity, with a focus on getting fitter while socialising and making friends. Classes were held in village halls and community centres, helping to generate income for them.

Some 2,500 people took part in classes ranging from yoga and tai chi to walking football and table tennis. Sport England provided funding for three years with match-funding from the council and support from the Clinical Commissioning group.  The project team was led by Mekhola Ray with support from Claire Pullen, Debbie Haselgrove and the communications team.


June 20 2019