London Borough of Waltham Forest
The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a London borough in North East London.
The borough was formed in 1965 from the merger of the municipal boroughs of Leyton, Walthamstow and Chingford; it took its name from Waltham Forest – an institution which managed deer in south-west Essex.
A Social Prescribing service has been set up in Waltham Forest local authority to help residents become healthier, happier and connected to local activities and organisations. Social Prescribing can offer a range of activities such as walking groups, music, dance, arts and crafts classes. Referrals and signposting to organisations working within volunteering or community led groups. The service can also support and advise clients on accessing talking therapies or social groups to improve health and wellbeing. Health or social care professionals such as GP's can suggest to residents that they may benefit from social prescribing, if residents agree to be referred to the service, they will receive a phone call from a ‘social prescriber’, who will discuss with them what their needs and experiences are and what they would like to access. The social prescriber will then help the resident to access a range of support, advice and information provided by local organisations. In addition, the local Citizen’s Advice service provides a welfare advisor for one day per week in the three GP hubs across the borough, who the social prescriber can make direct appointments to for patients needing welfare advice at one of these GP surgeries.
The social prescribing scheme in Waltham Forest has an enhanced scheme working with the Citizens Advice Bureau that launched in September 2018. It is built on a year-long pilot scheme that focused mostly on the activities available in the voluntary sector for vulnerable patients and residents in greatest need. It will aim to deal with some of the things that may cause health inequalities.
The Social Prescribing service in Waltham Forest are also one of the partners co-producing a community offer of a creative workshop at the Walthamstow wetlands nature reserve together with the Council’s Adult Learning Service. They also created a locally based fibromyalgia support group for residents affected by the illness. The group meets regularly with others and communicates through social media providing peer support. Social prescribing is also working closely with Waltham Forest Community Hub to offer training for Volunteer buddies. Volunteers completing the training, are matched up with residents to support with activities, socialise & exercise locally; helping to reengage them with their community.
Waltham Forest is currently working with local PCN's to embed personalised care with Social Prescribing Link Workers. The SPLW's will help clients and patients with a range of services including; supported self-management, shared decision making between professionals and residents, Personalised care or support plans, Social prescribing or community-based support and providing personal health budgets for residents with complex physical needs.
The north and south of the borough, split by the North Circular Road, contrast markedly in terms of demographic and socio-economic indicators; with urban districts in the south having inner-city characteristics, and the more affluent suburban areas to the north having better access to open spaces, parks, and playing fields.
Waltham Forest is divided into three localities comprising of the municipal boroughs of Chingford E4 in the North, Walthamstow E17 and Leyton/Leytonstone E10 towards the East.