About Us

Professional Body for Link Workers

About Us

National Association of Link Workers is the only and largest UK professional membership body for Social Prescribing Link Workers. We are a vibrant independent grassroots social innovation that serves to increase resilience, professionalism, and connectedness amongst Social Prescribing Link Workers & managers. We produce social impact activities to deliver our cause and social mission. As a social enterprise, our strengths lie in our memberships.

Our cause

Resilient and capable Social Prescribing Link Workers achieving improved quality of life for themselves and the communities they serve.

Social mission Statement

A UK community of practice for all Social Prescribing Link Workers to share learning, build resilience, develop, network and support each other in order to achieve improved quality of life for themselves, their clients/patients and communities.

Vision Statement

To be the UK single point of access for Social Prescribing Link Worker support and development promoting quality and consistency in professional standards and practices

Values Statement

To deliver our social mission and vision, our approach will be guided by our 5 values.

1 Social innovation

We are committed to meeting the needs of link workers now and in the future.

2 Co-production

We listen to what matters to link workers and co-produce solutions.

3 Inclusiveness

We respect people, value diversity and are committed to equality.

4 Collaboration

We are committed to a culture of openness and collaboration to maximise social impact.

5 Professional integrity

We strive to preserve the professional integrity and quality of the link worker profession.

Our Aim

Promote link worker professional standards and practice

Unite the voices of link workers

Increase link worker connectedness

Build link worker capability and resilience

Our Senior Team

Meet the team! National Association of Link Workers is composed of passionate and determined individuals who aspire to bring positive impact to people’s lives. Get to know more about our social innovation team!

Christiana Melam

Chief Executive Officer

Christiana is a social prescribing enthusiast. She has been ‘linking’ or ‘connecting’ in her community all her life, whether; in a paid capacity with a previous career in public health and health promotion or volunteer capacity as a patient and public voice representative or health services liaison.

It is her knowledge and experience of inequalities, that highlighted for her just how important the role of a link worker is but also that it needed help to maintain its professional integrity, in order to help reduce inequalities.

She is an advocate for social change, social justice, inclusion, coproduction, grassroots approaches, empowering people and reducing inequality. She has achieved particular success in community engagement, implementing targeted interventions for “hard to reach” and “at risk groups” to reduce health inequalities, and developing the often overlooked paid and volunteer workforce in health and social care.

This success is the result of her approachable, inspiring and enthusiastic nature, ability to bridge points of view and varied subject matter expertise – all of which boosts engagement and morale.

She was recognised by the mayor of London as one of the women that make London great in 2019 and was a finalist in the Social Enterprise UK awards for the ‘Women in Social Enterprise’ category.

Christiana holds masters in Public Health & Health Promotion.

Marion Barnham

Chief Operations Officer

Natasha Kallay

Head of Policy & External Affairs

Natasha is a dedicated and passionate social justice warrior with experience supporting national and international advocacy campaigns. She believes firmly in social change and the importance of inclusivity and has dedicated her career to supporting others.

With Masters degrees in development, policy and social transformation, she is committed to finding and supporting pathways that ensure the betterment of communities and society as a whole.  

Having worked in policy and international development for the better part of two decades, Natasha brings with her a wealth of experience working both on public health programmes, in humanitarian emergencies, as well as supporting underserved communities. Having formally worked in the public sector, she is also experienced working with policymakers and impacting legislation.  

A self-proclaimed bookworm, she loves digging into research and writing reports, as well as supporting others to advocate for the causes close to their hearts. She is enthusiastic to help social prescribing link workers and the valuable work they provide to their communities. 

Diana Popescu

Head of Membership & Engagement

Diana is a dedicated community driver with an infectious enthusiasm for technology, video, art and agriculture. She’s passionate about creating processes and driving cross-functional teams. She dreams about an empathic global society built on the strength and beauty of diversity (ethnic, religious, economic, cultural, geographic) a just, peaceful and prosperous world for this generation and generations to come.

Holding a master’s degree in business management, she’s committed to finding way to build human empathic capabilities for personal and collective transformation, innovation and impact. Currently helping social change makers to improve their capability to deliver change and focusing on project/programme governance and the treatment of inherent project/programme complexity.

Having run three years in a row the Global Challenges Retreat with a team of experts, Diana discovered her passion for Environmental Engineering, so she is striving to solve environmental problems such as water and air pollution, waste disposal, and public health issues.

The open minded, holistic approach of NALW and our social prescribing team allows her to utilise her experience to its fullest, to help social prescribing link workers.

Her motto is – ‘’Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.’’

Advisory Board

Our advisory board works together quarterly to advise on in-depth strategies for the National Association of Link workers. They propel our association as a whole in the right direction to reach our objectives; specifically in terms of our cause, social missions, vision, and values.

Kelly Austin

MEMBER

Kelly’s journey into social prescribing really started when she joined the GP practice, then known as Sawston Medical Practice 9 years ago, as a receptionist. During her time in this role she helped facilitate community weight loss groups, set up walking groups and became the Carers co-ordinator. She then moved into clinical coding which gave her a real insight into how other aspects as well as medical issues can affect patients.


In early 2018 Granta, now a group of 5 merged Practices and patient population of 44,000, secured funding from our local District and County councils for a social prescribing service to be launched, an opportunity that she jumped at. The service is now 9 months into the initial 2 years funded pilot and with the new NHS plans and GP contracts it looks set to continue. Joining the advisory board has really given her a platform to help shape the way the social prescribing service works and has been an enormous privilege.


Out of work, she is a married mum of two boys and have lots of animals! She is also a qualified dancing for fitness instructor, this has also lead to her to undertaking the Strength and Balance instructor training later this year. She likes to challenge herself doing long distance charity walks.

Roseann Logan

MEMBER

Roseann joined The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE) in February 2014 as the Community Links Manager with the Links Worker Programme, a highly innovative and unique programme that aims to support people to live well through strengthening links between primary care and community resources.

Roseann has always had a passion for working with people and especially within the field of mental health and qualified as a mental health nurse in the early 90’s. Since then she has worked within different Third Sector organisations in a variety of management roles setting up new and innovative services within a challenging and changing Social Care environment.

With over 20 years’ experience within Third Sector organisations the fresh challenge of this programme and role has given Roseann the opportunity to use her experiences and knowledge and share them with colleagues from different sectors.

Sara Godoli

MEMBER

Sara works as an integrative psychotherapist and counsellor in private practice as well as being employed by MIND in CAMDEN as a social prescribing link worker for a partnership project with CAMDEN & ISLINGTON NHS FOUNDATION TRUST. Her current social prescribing role is embedded within the Trust’s Mental Health Advice and Assessment Team.

Born in Italy, Sara moved to the UK 20 years ago. She is a passionate believer in social justice and has always been involved in the voluntary community sector, in a paid and non-paid capacity.

Sara has a keen interest in mental health which developed from her work in the voluntary community sector. She is particularly passionate in finding creative ways to empower people to own and tell their story as to bring about a multitude of voices, perspectives and practices.

She has a university degree in Sociology and Anthropology and worked for Oxfam for many years prior to her post-graduate in Psychotherapy.

She is a mum of two children and needs to be outdoors and as much as she can, she spends time toiling the soil in her allotment.

Margaret V Mulley

MEMBER

Margaret is an independent consultant working with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice to support faculty colleagues to move research into practice through learning programmes that spread health care delivery science globally. She previously served as adjunct Lecturer at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Before joining Dartmouth, Margaret was a Senior Audit Partner for more than 30 years at Deloitte where she served as Americas Lead Partner for Emerging Growth Client Services, Managing Partner for Strategy, Innovation, Communication and Marketing for the Audit and Enterprise Risk Consulting groups, and as an elected Member of the Board of Directors.

From 2009, Margaret served as Deloitte’s Chief Learning Officer, leading an organizational transformation with a professional team responsible for developing the technical, professional and leadership learning for more than 14,000 auditors and risk consultants. She played a senior leadership role in the successful launch of Deloitte University.

Jane Soothill

Jane Soothill

MEMBER

Jane has a PhD in the anthropology of religion and gender. She has published a book and articles that think critically about agency and empowerment for marginalised peoples.

Jane also worked as a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice where she became interested in the challenges and complexities of peoples’ lives.

Since the beginning of 2019 Jane has been involved in social prescribing, initially as a link worker in Guildford and Waverley where she helped to establish a new service.

Currently she is working with Surrey County Council to develop and evaluate social prescribing across the county.

Champions

Meet our National and Regional Champions. They have proven outstanding commitment to providing localised leadership and support to colleagues

Deborah Clark

LEADS & MANAGERS CHAMPION- SCOTLAND

Since moving to Edinburgh in 2011, from her hometown of Fort William, Deborah has volunteered and worked in the Third Sector in a range of positions before starting as a Link Worker in 2015. She has been based in a number of practices across South West Edinburgh and is determined to bridge the gap between Primary Care and the Third Sector and believes that working in partnership is key.

Deborah is also the Community Link Worker Team Lead for South West Edinburgh and enjoys building a strong team culture where everyone strives to get the best out of themselves and the people they support.

Out of work Deborah enjoys playing the fiddle and cooking for family and friends.

Faith Walkwell

REGIONAL CHAMPION – NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND

As Social Prescriber Link Worker for Durham City’s Claypath and University PCN, it has been my privilege to set up and deliver our first Social Prescribing service. Over the last year the service has flourished and the link worker role is firmly embedded within the multidisciplinary team. I’ve built up strong networks with local agencies, services and groups, as well as my wider local and national link working peers.

I came to link working from the VCSE sector, working with people affected by dementia. I hold a MA in Social Work and a BSc in Psychology, and have worked in both hospital, and community based social services.

I am continuously inspired by the positive changes that individuals, groups and communities are capable of, even in the hardest of circumstances. I unwind from life’s stresses by playing with my 2 children, practicing yoga, and swimming in the North Sea.

Veronica Kuperman

REGIONAL CHAMPION- South West of England

Veronica has worked in health and social care for over 25 years. She has extensive experience working in drug and alcohol services and health promotion. While completing her degree in Psychology she volunteered for a Human Rights organisation and worked in community development projects in shanty towns in South America. She also participated and led in various public health initiatives while studying for a Postgraduate diploma in Health Education and working in Primary and Secondary care.  Following 15 years working in drug and alcohol services she was appointed to implement and manage a new Social Prescribing service in B&NES for which she was awarded Innovator of the Year at the 2nd International Social Prescribing conference in 2019 organised by the Social Prescribing Network, College of Medicine and the University of Westminster.

Veronica holds a Masters degree in Social Sciences and is particularly interested in ‘Green Care’ and ‘Healthy Cities’.

Debbie La Gette

REGIONAL CHAMPION – NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND

Debbie joined Lytham St Annes Primary Care Network as a Social Prescribing Link Worker in early 2020. She has helped to create and shape the social prescribing service for a population of 52,000, working within the challenges of the pandemic and lockdowns. This has necessitated creative working and a focus on reducing digital exclusion in an area with a large elderly population.

 

With a background initially in higher education learning support, she has worked for Women’s Aid, Age UK and the Lancashire Wellbeing Service. She has also volunteered for the Lancashire Wellbeing and Mental Health Helpline. She has a MSc in Psychology and a particular interest in mental health, suicide prevention and loneliness. When not working, she enjoys painting, walking, and making silver jewellery.

Sean Macfarlane

NATIONAL CHAMPION-SCOTLAND

I have over 18 years’ experience working within the health and social care sector, both as a manager and a practitioner in the voluntary sector, this includes 14 years working for Sense Scotland supporting adults with additional support needs including; learning difficulties, physical disabilities and sensory impairment.

I joined Your Voice in July 2016 as a Community Connector within Inverclyde, Scotland. Since January 2019 I have held the position of SPRING Social Prescribing Co-ordinator within Your Voice.

I am passionate about social prescribing and fine my current role both challenging and rewarding, making a positive difference to people’s lives remains close to my heart. Working alongside statutory services, 3rd sector and networking with community based partners and assets is really proving to create a positive impact in people who live in Inverclyde’s general health and wellbeing and reducing unnecessary demand on traditional services.

I have a level 4 health and social care qualification and also British Sign Language level 2 qualification.

Kelly Austin

REGIONAL CHAMPION- EAST OF ENGLAND

Kelly’s journey into social prescribing really started when she joined the GP practice, then known as Sawston Medical Practice 9 years ago, as a receptionist. During her time in this role she helped facilitate community weight loss groups, set up walking groups and became the Carers co-ordinator. She then moved into clinical coding which gave her a real insight into how other aspects as well as medical issues can affect patients.


In early 2018 Granta, now a group of 5 merged Practices and patient population of 44,000, secured funding from our local District and County councils for a social prescribing service to be launched, an opportunity that she jumped at. The service is now 9 months into the initial 2 years funded pilot and with the new NHS plans and GP contracts it looks set to continue. Joining the advisory board has really given her a platform to help shape the way the social prescribing service works and has been an enormous privilege.


Out of work, she is a married mum of two boys and have lots of animals! She is also a qualified dancing for fitness instructor, this has also lead to her to undertaking the Strength and Balance instructor training later this year. She likes to challenge herself doing long distance charity walks.

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Marie Adams

REGIONAL CHAMPION- South East

Marie joined Southern Health based in Fareham, Hampshire as a Community Connector (Social Prescriber) and has since moved onto a PCN covering Fareham & Portchester.

Marie’s career has been in Community Development for over 25 years and when she saw the development of Social Prescriber roles within the NHS and health provision, she knew she had to make the move from working in the Community and Voluntary Sector to the NHS.

NALW have given Marie a voice to share her passion for Social Prescribing and the power it has to bring about change to a person’s life by taking small steps, this builds up to one large step that empowers a person to be able to manage their lives. This can be linked to relationships, employment, lifestyle, housing, financial, in fact any aspect of a person’s life that has an impact on their health and wellbeing.

Peter Day

REGIONAL CHAMPION – MIDLANDS

My name is Peter Day and I’m a senior Social Prescriber with Taurus Healthcare in Herefordshire and have been in this role for about three years. Before this I was a Healthy Lifestyle Trainer with Herefordshire Council and for longer than I care to remember before that I was a Metropolitan Police Officer in London, which is strange as, in my own head, I’m still so young! 

As a social prescriber I cover four practices in Hereford, two with multiple doctors and two where a single GP is the main person, supported by ancillary services, a range of approaches, each with their own challenges! 

I applied for this role as I believe passionately that the role of Social Prescriber has the potential to become one of the most effective support tools for primary care in the changed world we will all live in post COVID. 

Jackie Clayton

REGIONAL CHAMPION-EAST OF ENGLAND

I started work for West Norfolk Health in April this year, the second week of the initial lockdown. I am a Social Prescriber for the Swaffham and Downham Market PCN covering 7 surgeries, although my Social Prescribing journey started in Huntingdon the year before. 

I am a trained Mental Health First Aider and have an ILM qualification in Coaching. I love the idea of focusing not on the problem but the potential of a person to solve the problem. About activating people and supporting them to change, the challenge of finding an assetbe that a service or an individual that will be just the right fit for the situation. 

I’m also passionate about supporting and helping other social prescribers I understand how challenging our role can be, especially for those of us who started new positions during lockdown. 

Outside of work I enjoy growing vegetables, cooking, reading and doing a bit of woodwork. 

Saera Haque

REGIONAL CHAMPION – LONDON

Hi, my name is Saera Haque and for the past two years
I have worked as the Social Prescribing Link Worker for 1Thornton Heath PCN.
 
 

Following completion of my degree in Computer Science
I soon 
realised that I had a passion to work in the community, supporting
families and residents in improving their health and well-being. 
 

Through my work I have been involved in supporting
many great partnerships between Voluntary and Community Sector 
organisations and
local community groups and managed many events to highlight awareness of
services available in Croydon.
 

 

In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors, baking and
reading.

Monica Boulton

LEADS & MANAGERS CHAMPION – ENGLAND

Hello! I’m Monica, and I am the Social Prescribing Lead at Red Zebra Community Solutions, based in Kent. I’ve lived in Kent for nearly 10 years after moving here from Cheltenham to study music at university. Since then my passion for supporting people use music, the arts, and other alternative treatments for conditions such as dementia, mental health, COPD, etc has led into the work I am now doing.

I advocated for Social Prescribing even before I knew it’s given term, I am fortunate to enjoy going to work every day to continue to influence this movement.

I am proud to be the Manager’s Champion for NALW and I’m looking forward to hearing from others about what they are doing within their organisations and have the chance to get to know you. I’m always up for a cuppa and a chat (even if it’s virtual at the moment)!

Claire G

Claire Gardiner

NATIONAL CHAMPION – SCOTLAND

Part of the Edinburgh CLW Network since December 2017, Claire Gardiner has over 15 years’ experience working with people in various practitioner roles empowering them to make lasting changes in their lives, including for over a decade working with people affected by homelessness.

Claire is enjoying the opportunity to work in such a progressive social prescribing role, as well as being part of the primary care team.

Selina Ross

LEADS & MANAGERS CHAMPION – SCOTLAND

I am currently the Chief Officer of West Dunbartonshire CVS, the local authority Third Sector Interface. With a particular interest in health economics and local community wealth-building, I have worked in a range of non-statutory, public service settings.

In bringing together community collaborations to design and deliver community wellbeing services, I want to help maximise the opportunity for our greatest local asset, our people, to identify and drive activity that helps them in achieving what matters most. 

Zoe Dunster

REGIONAL CHAMPION – SOUTH WEST OF ENGLAND

My name is Zoe and I have been working as a social prescriber for the pier health group in North Somerset for the past 2 and half years. I’m employed under alliance homes who also offer a range of support services.

My role is to provide non-medical support for patients. This ranges from financial support, benefits, debts, home adaptions, meal alternatives and social isolation.  I thoroughly enjoy my role and feel a great achievement in supporting patients to be able to live in a supported, connective and positive manner. 

Coming soon

REGIONAL CHAMPION-YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER

Coming soon

Coming soon

WALES CHAMPION

Coming soon

Omg... this is exciting!

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