A different prescription for North East Lincolnshire

£1.1 million of National Lottery funding could be just what the doctor ordered for people living with serious long-term health conditions in North East Lincolnshire.

The funding will help launch Thrive.nel, a new way of supporting people living with long term health conditions.

Led by NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Thrive.nel is a Social Prescribing service, whereby doctors can refer patients to non-medical community based support. Thrive.nel will operate alongside traditional medical treatments to maximise good health and reduce the impact of conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hypertension and Diabetes. Thrive.nel aims to connect people with local activities and services, and provide encouragement and support to make small lifestyle changes that could really make a difference.

The new service will be provided by local charity Centre4.

Thrive.nel has been commissioned as a ‘social outcomes contract’, whereby the CCG only pays for successful outcomes based on reduced usage of secondary care services. Bridges Fund Management, a specialist impact investor with extensive experience of these contracts, will provide up-front working capital and ongoing support to help Centre4 deliver the service. Outcome payments will be primarily funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, as part of its Commissioning Better Outcomes programme.

“This very welcome funding has given what was a fantastic idea real wings, and we are delighted the Big Lottery Fund is working with us to make social prescribing a reality here in North East Lincolnshire,” explained Lisa Hilder, the CCG’s Assistant Director for Strategic Planning. “This could make a huge difference to the lives of many, many people in our local area.

“Diseases such as COPD, Hypertension and Diabetes can have a devastating impact on the lives of the person with the condition, the people who care for them and their family and friends. Lifestyle changes can really improve how someone is feeling so they can live better, even with a serious health condition. It’s easy to talk about lifestyle changes, but many people need a lot of support to make them happen.”

Thrive.nel will work with people to identify local support that meets their needs; from walking groups and dance classes, to healthy cooking classes, gardening and social groups, including welfare, debt and housing advice. Each social prescription is individual to the person and participants will receive ongoing support for up to two years to help them meet their goals.

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