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GP practice and schoolchildren share Christmas kindness

15th December 2020 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

A Leicestershire GP practice has linked up with a local school to bring some Christmas kindness to people who are elderly and isolated.

Social Prescriber Lucy Moore, who is based at Heath Lane Surgery in Earl Shilton, has arranged for pupils at Barwell Academy to make Christmas cards, which she is giving to her most vulnerable patients.

Lucy supports patients in non-medical ways, by linking them up with local community services and activities to help with their general wellbeing. She realised that this year has been especially difficult for people, as Covid meant that care home visits stopped and services offering social opportunities and face to face support were unable to operate in the usual way.

Lucy explained: “I have seen an increase this year in the number of people feeling very alone and I wanted to set up a Covid-safe Christmas project between generations.  Thanks to the wonderful hard work of the children at Barwell Academy, we have beautiful hand-made Christmas cards to share with those who are lonely or self-isolating and may not see any family, to show that they aren’t completely alone and that they are thought of, especially at Christmas time.”

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups’ practices and Primary Care Networks, in collaboration with Local Authorities, are increasingly offering social prescribing alongside medical healthcare. It is designed to support people with social, emotional and practical needs which, if neglected, can affect their general health.  NHS England has provided funding for social prescribers, based in GP practices, who refer patients to activities and services ranging from debt advice to befriending schemes, offered by community organisations.

Dr Raj Than, GP and Clinical Lead for older people’s health with the three Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs, said: “Our health is affected by a range of socio-economic factors, such as housing, poverty and lifestyle and there is growing evidence that social prescribing can actually help to improve patients’ health and wellbeing, especially people who have long-term mental or physical health problems, people with complex needs and people who are socially isolated.

All GP practices across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland now have access to social prescribing, helping to address people’s needs in a holistic way and improving their quality of life.”

Jodie Robinson, Family Link Worker at Barwell Academy, said: “Our children have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this intergenerational activity. They showed such care and compassion when learning that people within their community would be alone at Christmastime, They all wanted to do their very best to try and help bring some festive cheer to those who may be lonely.”

Victoria Newman, Head Teacher at Barwell Academy, added: “We believe it is important to not only develop children academically but to teach them to care for and support others. We were very honoured to be part of something that hopefully will help in a small way to brighten up someone’s Christmas and bring different generations together. All being well, we very much hope that we can do this in person this time next year.”

 

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