Government awards £5 million to the NASP to combat COVID-19 loneliness

The National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) has been awarded £5 million by the government. This funding follows from the effects of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of individuals.

As social prescribing tackles loneliness and improves health and wellbeing, the funding could not come at a better time. With people stuck at home and facing the long-term effects of amongst other things loneliness, social prescribing can help them to get back up their feet.

How will the funding be used?

Football player kicking ball
The money is provided to connect people to social prescribing initiatives that have been set out in local communities. A few named initiatives are services involving improving green spaces, singing, physical activities and debt advice.

The NASP work together with commendable services and programmes, which help them offer social prescribing services. Amongst them are the following:



  • The Newcastle United Foundation programmes named ‘Be a Game Changer’ and ‘12th Man’ allows men to tackle their mental health issues with football.
  • For those looking to connect with nature, local gardening, healthy cooking and food growing activities and groups are made available.
  • The English National Opera have created a 6-week pilot programme together with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme allows COVID-19 survivors to enhance their recovery with singing, breathing and wellbeing exercises.
  • The Southbank Centre focuses on art by sending creative activity booklets to people with dementia and other chronic health conditions in the UK.
  • People needing financial advice due to the effects of COVID-19 can find support via the Money Support Pack set up by the Money and Pensions Service and Mental Health UK.

Social prescribing funding coming at the right time

Support for social prescribing

The £5 million funding comes at a desired time as the long-term effects of lockdown are weighing on society.

Minister for Health Jo Churchill emphasises this point: “GPs and social prescribing link workers have been working incredibly hard to support their patients through this challenging time. As we begin to support the move out of lockdown, social prescribing will be key to tackling health inequalities and helping people recover and rebuild their lives.”

The NASP has gladly accepted the funding from the government, allowing them to build on their set goals. “Now more than ever, the pandemic has shown the value of social prescribing in helping people to stay connected, feel supported and to maintain their wellbeing,” says James Sanderson, CEO at the NASP. "So, I’m absolutely delighted that Natural England are working with the National Academy to help people connect with nature and to make sure that everybody can access the outdoors, wherever they live, as part of a truly green recovery."

What is the National Academy for Social Prescribing?

The National Academy for Social Prescribing was founded in October 2019. The academy focuses on partnering and funding different services and communities in the field of social prescribing and promote health and wellbeing. They are active in the field of sports, arts, leisure, the natural environment and health.

The NASP plays an important role for social prescribing as it improves evidence, shares good practice and raises the profile of social prescribing link workers.

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