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.

Social prescribing

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.

Participatory research

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).

Cardiff Event









Network priorities

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 it sustainable?

2: What does 'good' look like? What are the critical success factors for social prescribing? What are the barriers to stop things working?

3: What would an all-Wales agreed evaluation framework look like?

4: How can we be mindful of de-medicalisation/medicalisation/power-dynamics/language?

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 evidence?

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 knowledge.

Bangor Event













An event took place in Bangor in September 2018 on developing a common outcomes framework for social prescribing

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 network.

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