What is the WSPRN?
The aim of the network is to build the critical evidence for social prescribing in Wales. It is a research platform to support the three communities of practice in North, West and East Wales. It is primarily a virtual network with face-to-face events across Wales.
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Social
Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act provide the legal framework for
us all to work together to promote wellbeing and support
initiatives such as social prescribing, which promote the
prevention of ill-health and early intervention models to avert
crisis in people's lives.
Social prescribing is a term which means different things to
different people. The meaning may change depending on whether you
work in the health, social care, the third or community sector or
whether you engage with health, social care, third sector or
community services as an individual.
As an individual you may be offered a social prescription for a
community-based or non-clinical activity or service. There are
various reasons why a person is referred for social prescribing. It
could be related to physical, psychological, psycho-social reasons
or for general wellbeing, social isolation and loneliness, needing
to think about a lifestyle change, self-care, welfare advice,
financial advice or support to self-manage a pre-existing or
long-term condition. A social prescription is wide-ranging;
tailored to the needs of the individual who works with a social
prescriber, link worker, community connector or navigator to
develop their bespoke prescription. The prescription, for example,
could include access to a befriending scheme, a gardening project,
an arts and crafts group, yoga or to a weight-loss programme.
The WSPRN uses a participatory research approach to hold to
account the notion that society is based on equality and democracy.
Participatory research is 'an approach designed to engage
participants in the research or evaluation process, rather than a
specific set of methods or techniques' (Cousins & Chouinard,
2012, p.8). It assumes that the knowledge and wisdom required for
developing the network and its research will emerge through
collective intelligence and creativity (Fouche & Light, 2010;
Jorgenson & Steier, 2013).
In May 2018 64 network members met at our first face-to-face
event and developed eight research priorities.
1: What systems might sustain community assets? How can we make
2: What does 'good' look like? What are the critical success
factors for social prescribing? What are the barriers to stop
3: What would an all-Wales agreed evaluation framework look
4: How can we be mindful of
5: How do we stay true to the experience of an individual vs the
experience of the 'population'?
6: How can we use 'appropriately' ethical research processes?
What are appropriate forms of inquiry to produce useful
7: How are decisions made? And what nudges are needed?
8: What does 'accountability' mean?
We are now exploring these priorities in more depth as we
conduct other face-to -face events around Wales.
News and taking part in events
When you become a member of the network we will send you news
about social prescribing and our events by email. We will also
ask you if you would like to share your email address with other
people on the network so you can build relationships and share
An event took place in Bangor in September 2018 on
developing a common outcomes framework for social
Becoming a member of the Network
Membership is open to any individual or group who has an
interest in social prescribing. It includes members from the third
sector, higher education, statutory social care and health
organisations (e.g. practitioners, commissioners), members of the
public, independent sector and industry. If you would like to be a
member of the network please contact Fiona Harris on fharris@WCVA.org.uk or
Carolyn Wallace on Carolyn.Wallace@southwales.ac.uk
If you don't see your organisational logo then please contact
Carolyn Wallace to include it. We value all partners and want to
recognise the contribution that you make as a member of the
How is WSPRN funded?
Our initial funding came from the Wales School for Social Care
Research. This small grant funds our administration and face to
face events for 2018-2019.
All our steering group members have been supported by their
organisations to participate in this network development.
The Wales Social Prescribing Research Network is administered by
Fiona Harris fharris@WCVA.org.uk.
Members of the Steering Group