Our National and Regional Champions provide localised leadership and support to Social Prescribing Link Workers
National Champion-Scotland/Northern Ireland
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.
Sapphire was a part time receptionist in the healthcare industry for 8 years. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychological Wellbeing. She continued her administrative work by learning the healthcare IT systems and coordinated referrals. Soon after, she was appointed Carer’s Lead for The Slieve Surgery, making sure all health checks were offered and began planning exercise groups/gardening sessions.
Having carried out research on life satisfaction, emotional resilience and happiness, Sapphire’s passion has always been around improving mental health and enhancing wellbeing. Sapphire truly believes in community spirit and has first-hand experience volunteering for Oxfam, Anxiety UK, family support workers and youth centres.
In 2019, she joined Handsworth Wood & Great Barr Primary Care Network as a Social Prescribing Link Worker; It has approx. 60,000 patients. She created and moulded the service to match the demands of the GP practices/ local demographic, which has proven to be a success!
Valerie is the Lead Community Link Worker (CLW) for Inverclyde in Scotland. The CLW programme started in Nov 2017 with Inverclyde being early adopters of the National Link Worker programme in Scotland.
Valerie works part of her week in the GP practice providing support to patients with non-medical, social issues and the other part managing the team of 6 other CLWs.
Valerie has worked in many different areas within social care including; - a day centre for older people, independent advocacy and volunteer development. She achieved her BA in Social Sciences from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2011, studying part time in the evening.
Valerie is also been a keen volunteer in her local community, mum to an amazing daughter and wife to a very patient husband. She has a passion for good communication, inclusion, empowering people/communities and good partnership working.
Regional Champion-Yorkshire and Humber
I am a social prescribing Link Worker for Thrive based at a busy Community Hub called Centre 4, in Grimsby. I have many years’ experience of working within social care, supporting people and I am passionate about my work
I went back into education around the age of 30 completing various qualifications and went on to achieve the Sir Brynmor Jones/Ferens Scholarship for Academic excellence and also gained a First class BA (Hons) in Social Work.
I’m an advocate for kindness in all walks of life and I live in the community which I work in. I am very much interested in people and believe everyone is unique and has something to contribute. I love the fact that I am always learning and my mantra is that everything is an opportunity
Regional Champion- East of England
My journey into social prescribing really started when I joined the GP practice, then known as Sawston Medical Practice 9 years ago, as a receptionist. During my time in this role I helped facilitate community weight loss groups, set up walking groups and became the Carers co-ordinator. I then moved into clinical coding giving me 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 I jumped at. We are now 9 months into the initial 2 years funded pilot and with the new NHS plans and GP contracts capacity has increased. Joining National Association of Link Workers advisory board has really given me a platform to help shape the way we work and been an enormous privilege.
Regional Champion South East
Jane Soothill is a link worker for the Guildford and Waverley social prescribing service. Jane is currently working with NHS England’s Building Health Partnerships to encourage collaboration between the local VCSE sector and primary care through social prescribing.
She enjoys working with community, statutory and health partners to reduce social isolation and improve the wellbeing of local people. Prior to her involvement in social prescribing she was a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice.
Jane also has a PhD in the anthropology of religion and gender. Her publications explore the interplay between gender identity and social change.
National 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.
National Champion- Northern Ireland
SPRING Social Prescribing Co-ordinator for the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum.
Bronagh has worked in the community and voluntary sector for the past 10 years, based in two healthy living centres in the Derry area. Throughout this time, Bronagh has gained a wealth of experience supporting individuals on a one to one capacity, designing & planning programmes and activities with improving individuals’ health and well-being at the forefront.
Bronagh’ educational pathway, from a young age, lead her to her current role in the SPRING Social Prescribing Project.
Bronagh holds a BSc Hons Degree in Sociology and Social Policy
Regional Champion-North West
I have an extensive background in health promotion working in differing regions of the North West at both local authority and NHS covering the early years to later life.
I have always implemented social prescribing to the work I do as I believe that a person may better reach their goal and improve their health if they have the correct support in place to eliminate any barriers that are holding them back.
I have successfully obtained a First Class BSc from University of Chester in Physical Activity and Health as well as a MSc in Sport, Leadership and Management where I extensively studied behaviour change. I enjoy all aspects of behaviour change and enjoy helping people change their behaviour to help improve their health.
I am excited to be at the start of the Social Prescribing journey and look forward to seeing the difference it makes to our local communities.
I’m Adrianna Jones and I have worked as a Social Prescribing Coordinator for Merton Voluntary Service Council since 2018. I studied Psychology & Counselling BSc at the University of Roehampton and whilst developing my counselling practice, it taught me how to be sensitive towards contextual and cultural issues whilst working with any individual.
I have since worked for non-profit organisations such as Hestia, Age UK and the NHS and have previously volunteered and qualified as an Online Relationship Advisor for young people. Ensuring people are linked up to the appropriate resources and support in their communities has always been a very rewarding part of my career.
Having lived in London for the majority of my life, I am delighted to be appointed as the London Regional SP Link Worker Champion for NALW. I am looking forward to championing the wellbeing needs of link workers as well as networking, sharing best practices of Social Prescribing and much more!