"I have worked with Marie and Helen on a number of occasions where I needed specialist skills and experience. They mix professionalism with an engaging, flexible approach, recognising that programmes often evolve, while delivering accurate and user-friendly outputs."
Craig Lister, MD of TCV's Green Gym
What we did: Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), Dr Seers and Dr Polley were commissioned by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to capture a snapshot of the experiences of social prescribing schemes across the UK, just as the roll-out of social prescribing was gathering pace. Data was collected via a survey which had a large reach and excellent uptake from organisations, due to the evaluation team's ability to reach large numbers of social prescribing organisations and stakeholders. As the data on funding and challenges to sustainability was being analysed, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the team agilely designed, administered and analysed a second phase of research to understand the impact of the pandemic on social prescribing schemes and the role of the link worker.
Outcome: A final report based provided clear evidence from a range of stakeholders. A series of recommendations was made on how the funding flow in social prescribing needs to change, to ensure the sustainability of VCSE organisations and ensure that the mental health of link workers is protected. The report was launched at a webinar attended by over 700 people.
What were the benefits: The report raised the profile of TCV within the social prescribing world and the data from the report is being used to inform national policies within England and the National Academy of Social Prescribing. The report provides a lasting record of the impact of Covid-19 on communities and the incredible innovations from link workers and social prescribing schemes to support vulnerable and shielding people across the UK.