Name: Bronagh Cooper
Job title: SPRING Social Prescribing Coordinator
Organisation: Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum
Location: Northern Ireland
Please summarise your role responsibilities
As the Social Prescribing Co-ordinator I carry a caseload of clients and develop and implement effective signposting and assisting individuals to services that will address the individual’s non-medical needs. Together, the individual and I complete an initial assessment that includes assessing risk with the client, co-create and agree action plans with individual’s and provide (or work to enable) the necessary support as identified in the plan. During engagement with the individual, reviews are carried out to ensure useful and sustainable benefits have been achieved.
I continuously work closely with Western Healthy Living Centres and have formed strategic linkages with and provide regular communication to participating GP practices including GP’s, multi-disciplinary teams and other medical professionals.
In addition, I provide strategic and operational development of the SPRING Social Prescribing Programme, and the day-to-day management of all relating services including those developed in partnership with Healthy Living Centre (HLC) partners, GP’s and statutory and voluntary agencies in the WHSCT area.
What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?
I have experienced many accomplishments fulfilling my role as a social prescriber, primarily witnessing positive outcomes achieved by individuals referred to SPRING Social Prescribing.
Through my role, I have also been able to identify gaps of support need and have therefore developed and implemented programmes to help such support needs. All of which, are now well established and delivered throughout the year.
I have also helped raise the profile of Social Prescribing in the north of Ireland, to which I am extremely proud.
What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?
The biggest challenge is the increasing demand on Social Prescribing without any financial support from government bodies.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Social Prescribing Link Workers and/or Social Prescribing Programmes?
Incorporate self-care into your working week, this is vital during your practice.
Always use a person centred approach when engaging individuals.
Social Prescribers are not in a position to force individuals into services/support, we act as their guide and their cheerleaders to improving their health and well-being.
Be creative when creating and developing programmes needed to support individuals.
What do you do for fun when not working?
I like to meditate and read, which helps me relax.
For fun, I like to socialise with my friends, go dancing and laugh as much as I can!
How does National Association of Link Workers add value to Social Prescribing and Link Workers?
NALW adds value to link workers as it is a valuable means of support, sharing ideas and motivation, when needed. The Association also raises the profile of Social Prescribing and will help gain recognition for the invaluable work that we carry out on a daily basis.
Bronagh is National Association of Link Workers point of contact in Northern Ireland providing localised leadership and support to Link Workers.