London Borough of Hackney

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The London Borough of Hackney is a London Borough in Inner London. The modern borough was formed 1965 by the merger of the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney with the much smaller Metropolitan Boroughs of Stoke Newington and Shoreditch.

Social Prescribing

Hackney is home to the Family Action Hackney Social Prescribing Service, which is commissioned by the City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and delivered by Family Action.

The programme was initially set up in 2014 as a pilot, and is now available to all City and Hackney GP practices, who can directly book appointments with the social prescribing service.

The service aims to improve individuals’ mental health and well being through referral to non–medical sources of support within the community, in turn reducing reliance upon health services and GP surgeries.

The service is run by one full time, professionally qualified social prescribing team manager and three full time well being co-coordinators. Patients are referred to the service and work with the coordinator to identify and address issues affecting their health and well being. The well being co-coordinators can refer patients to a variety of community, voluntary sector and public sector services. Activities that people have become involved with as a result of contact with the service include:

• Social - Community Drop-In Sessions, Arts, Music, Cooking, Choir

• Physical Health - Gym Access, Yoga, Walking, Boxfit, Chair Based Exercises

• Mental Health - Mindfulness, Managing Stress Courses, Relaxation & Breathing Classes

• Education - ESOL Classes, Computer Classes, Literacy

• Volunteering - Befriending, Gardening, Animal Care, Admin Support


The service aims to achieve the following outcomes:

• An increase in the number of people feeling healthier and happier

• An increase in the number of people feeling less socially isolated/lonely

• An increase in the number of people managing their long term condition better

• A reduction in the inappropriate use of health services, with a reduction in waiting lists

• Increased awareness of skills, activities and behaviours that improve and protect mental well being

• Increased uptake of activities by vulnerable and at risk groups

Family Action also piloted a Social Prescribing in Secondary Care Service, commissioned by Healthy London Partnership, from December 2017 until the end of June 2018 at the Homerton University Hospital in Hackney.

  • Referrals from secondary care staff, primary care staff, self-referrals, and other voluntary sector organisations. 
  • Non-clinical support via up to eight one to one sessions
  • Link Workers facilitate social prescriptions to community organisations and providing practical and emotional support
  • Volunteer Befrienders provide support to access activities/services

Hackney also has the Centre for Better Health that operates two social enterprises, a bakery and a bike shop, providing work skills training for people who have been suffering from long-term mental ill-health and are looking for pathways back in to work.


The population is ethnically diverse. Of the resident population, 89,490 (44%) people describe themselves as White British. 24,861 (12%) are in other White ethnic groups, 50,009 (24%) are Black or Black British, 19,791 (9%) are Asian or Asian British, 8,501 (4%) describe themselves as 'Mixed', and 6,432 (3%) as Chinese or Other.

There is also a large Turkish and Kurdish population resident in Hackney. Turkish and Kurdish communities are located in all parts of the borough, though there is a greater concentration in north and central Hackney.

132,931 (66%) of the resident population were British born. A further 10,095 (5%) were born in other parts of Europe, and the remaining 59,798 (29%) born elsewhere in the world.

The 2001 census also shows Christianity is the biggest religion in Hackney, with 44% of residents identifying Christian; 18% identified as Muslim, 4% Jewish, and 3% belonged to other religions. A further 19% stated no religion, and 12% did not state a response. By the 2011 census, residents identifying themselves as Christian fell to 38.6%, whilst those with no religion rose to 28.2%. Judaism had a modest increase, Islam had a small increase, and Hinduism made a slight drop.

32% of households are owner–occupied.

The largest rise of ethnic groups between 2001 and 2011 was 'Other', which increased by 222%. This was followed by 'Mixed', which rose by 84%.

According to the GLA Population Estimate for 2018, 36.4% of the borough's population are White British, 18.1% are "Other White", 10.3% are of Black African heritage, and 6.4% are of Black Caribbean heritage. Hackney is also home to several smaller Asian communities.


Map of all the London Boroughs