East Region Ideas Hub

Welcome to our East Region Ideas Hub! Here you can discover more about our Network members and their work across the East of England. See how community spaces like museums, leisure centres, places of worship and more are hosting activities and services, accessible through social prescribing. We'd love to share the approach your community is taking to build connections through social prescribing please Get in Touch. Read on to learn more about Thriving Communities in the East of England.


Meningitis: How walking tennis helped a Cambridgeshire woman recover

A woman who lost both her legs to meningitis at the age of 16 says playing walking tennis has changed her life. Nicola Wilson, from Ely in Cambridgeshire, has had numerous operations, and said her mental health suffered during the pandemic. Things got better when a friend introduced her to walking tennis, an indoor version of the game played on smaller courts at a gentler pace. She said: "Tennis has changed my life, it's not even about being good at tennis, it's just being about getting out, being around people and just socialising."

Transforming NHS Spaces for Social Prescribing

Spaces have been transformed to support Social Prescribing at Whitton Clinic in Ipswich and Victoria Central Health Centre in Wallasey. Underused or vacant NHS spaces provide the perfect opportunity to support Social Prescribing. From transforming just one empty room in a health centre to renovating an entire floor, these spaces can be used by community groups, therapists and so much more to improve the wellbeing of local populations.

Find out more about the NHS Property Services Social Prescribing programme: property.nhs.uk/social-prescribing/


Healthwatch Essex Trauma Card

Healthwatch Essex collects data and lived experiences from the public of Essex in relation to health and social care services and uses that information to inform the way services are designed and delivered.

The Healthwatch trauma card has been created by the Healthwatch Essex Trauma ambassador group as a tool to empower cardholders to make sure they are interacting with aware of when they are experiencing the effects of trauma, and inform those in receipt of card about trauma and how to more effectively support, and work with, those living with the effects of trauma. If you have been presented with a trauma card, the person you are interacting with is living with the effects of trauma, and the situation you are currently in has generated a trigger for them. You may not have been aware that they were affected by trauma, and you may not be able to pinpoint what has occurred to cause the reaction. However, neither of these things are your primary concern. What matters is how the situation now progresses, as what happens will likely have a significant impact on the relationship/engagement going forward.

Click here to find out more on the Healthwatch Essex Trauma Card


How Funding can be used to enable Social Prescription Referrals

Connect for Health operates across 41 GP surgeries throughout Ipswich. The programme is supported by a Community Chest (CC) to ensure that money goes where there is demand and need within the local community.

A Community Chest for social prescribing is a micro-grant fund for the VCFSEs (voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise services) that social prescribers refer on to. The grant has been designed to address health inequalities, foster integrated ways of working and support the evolution of Social Prescribing. The connect for Health Case Study demonstrates how funding can be used to ensure money goes where there is a demand and need within the local community. The Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG has funded £120k into the Community Chest. The funding is then distributed to the Integrated Neighbourhood Teams who award it. The fund was allocated the following:

  • Local community transport groups
  • Local citizen's advice and disability advice service
  • Bereavement care service 
  • Befriending scheme
  • Local carers support charity 
  • Mental health service 
  • Men's shed and Good Neighbour Programme
  • Green Social Prescribing
  • Culturally sensitive swimming group 

Please click here for the case study. 

Healthy london partnership logo

First Site

Firstsite is in Colchester and Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre in Tendring, both in Essex. The project began in 2017 and is now delivered every school holiday. Click here to read more about the Holiday Fun Project and their aim to tackle poverty.

A Space To Be

A Space to Be is a National Lottery Heritage Fund Project for young people in Hertfordshire. Tom Watkins, Regional Lead for Thriving Communities East of England, was invited to give a keynote speech at the "A Space To Be" celebration event on Wednesday 13th May. Click here to read his presentation. 

Explore Green Social Prescribing with Greensand Trust

Greensand Country covers 40 miles of scenic landscape, which is defined by the Greensand Ridge and reaches three neighbouring counties: from Cambridgeshire in the East, across Bedfordshire and to Buckinghamshire in the West. The area’s unique landscape and geology results in a place of rich natural and cultural heritage. The mixture of historic parkland, estate villages and former industry together with the patchwork of habitats along the Greensand Ridge itself combine to give Greensand Country the unique ‘sense of place’ that is cherished by residents and visitors today. Greensand Country Landscape Partnership works to protect, enrich and promote this special area of England. This short film shows you a small snippet of some of the stunning landscapes, ecology, and historic architecture this landscape has to offer. Discover more at Greens and Country www.greensandcountry.com

H'arts in Mind

H'arts in mind are a mental health charity promoting well-being through the use of Art and supporting people who may experience barriers due to ill health or social circumstances. Please click here to read more about their work in Hertfordshire. 


H'arts in Mind artwork

Some of Our Learning Together Network Members