COPE’s Policy Webinar on Social Prescribing Sustainability Promoted Engaging Discussions

The COPE Policy Webinar on Social Prescribing Sustainability happened on June 15th, with exciting discussions and insightful presentations. The event explored the challenges and opportunities surrounding policy-making and project sustainability in social prescribing initiatives.

One of the sessions was focused on the power of co-creation, with a quote from Sónia Dias emphasising its importance: “Co-creation brings together innovative solutions and helps sustain the projects that participants have helped shape.” This sentiment resonated throughout the day, emphasising the spirit of collaboration needed for impactful change in communities. The webinar continued with compelling presentations from the UK, Austria, Finland, Italy and a European perspective. This diverse range of viewpoints provided a valuable exchange of best practice and a deeper understanding of how different countries approach the sustainability of their social prescription programmes. Key conclusions included the importance of strong communication skills, a bottom-up approach that recognises that individuals may not always need a doctor, but someone to talk to, and ensuring that the programme integrates seamlessly into everyday life.

The event was also marked by the presentation of intriguing statistics from a Europe-wide survey of general practitioners. Although 60% had heard of social prescribing, only 56% fully understood the concept. This emphasises the need for more awareness-raising efforts across the continent. The survey also identified physical exercise, social counselling, the arts, well-being and books as common elements in social prescription programmes.

Participants carried out a SWOT analysis, highlighting the programme’s strengths in terms of creativity and proximity to communities, while recognising the ongoing challenge of engagement through traditional methods. The analysis also identified the growing awareness of social prescribing and the potential for policy integration as opportunities, alongside the threat of complex bureaucracy.

COPE’s Webinar on the Social Prescription of Sustainability proved to be a productive day, full of valuable discussions and ideas. The organisers would like to thank all the participants and look forward to continuing the debate and promoting the sustainability of social prescribing initiatives.