ForHousing celebrates benefits of pilot which prescribes Nordic walking, gardening and more as part of National Social Prescribing Day

Posted: 28/03/2019

On the first ever National Social Prescribing Day, ForHousing is celebrating the success of a first-of-its-kind initiative which has seen Westminster residents handed prescriptions for social and practical help rather than medicines.

ForHousing introduced social prescribing as a key way to improve lives and, almost 12 months into its ‘Passport to Wellbeing’ pilot, says it is highlighting significant health and wellbeing improvements.

ForHousing, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s housing management provider, has partnered with a local GP surgery in Westminster, Ellesmere Port, to trial the scheme and has invested in a digital technology platform which enables clinicians to prescribe local activities delivered in the community and monitor the effects.

The prescriptions range from referring residents to voluntary sector projects to increase confidence and self-esteem to healthy eating sessions, Nordic walking, gardening and employment training.

So far 33 people have benefited from the scheme in Ellesmere Port with potential plans to roll the scheme out further.

Jenny Chapman, Group Director of Innovation and Excellence at ForViva, said: “We have been amazed at the health and wellbeing improvements people are experiencing already.

“ForHousing is well placed to work with GPs to provide a bridge to local activities which sometimes can have a more profound effect on health than any medicine can. What is core is keeping the person at the centre and enabling them to determine the most relevant course of action that meets their needs, working in partnership.

“So far this pilot has been very promising and we look forward to evaluating the results later in the year.”

Social prescribing has been recognised by NHS England as key to reducing GPs’ workloads and improving health and wellbeing nationally. It has recently announced investment in 1,000 ‘link workers’ across the country to perform a similar function to ForHousing’s pilot.

Dr Rajesh Rajan is clinical director at a Westminster GP surgery and has spoken positively about how ForHousing’s ‘Passport to Wellbeing’ scheme is helping him respond to common challenges such as depression and isolation. He said: “Being able to put people in contact with these other services gives me an extra choice and another route for the patients.”

Social Prescribing Day is an initiative launched by the College of Medicine, the University of Westminster and the Wellcome Trust to raise awareness of social prescribing and its benefits across the country.

ForHousing has partnered with ‘tech for good’ company, Elemental Software, using its award-winning platform to help customers discover healthy lifestyle activities, education opportunities and skills. ForHousing customers in Westminster can access their passport by emailing

Also in this section