Community Chests for Social Prescribing

We’re on a mission to ensure that London’s social prescribing system is not only sustainable but thriving. However, we know that this can’t be achieved without a well-funded voluntary sector to deliver the activity which people are prescribed.

That’s why we’ve developed a community chest model for social prescribing, bringing together resources to create an accessible, local funding pot for the voluntary and community sector to support local activities.

Community chests are more than just pots of money; they’re rooted in a collaborative, needs-led approach to funding that taps into the strengths and insights of a wide range of partners from across the local community.

We’ve piloted the community chest model across the seven boroughs in North East London and have ambitions to roll out the model across the remaining London ICSs.

We’ve partnered with the London Health and Care Leaders Group to help embed the vital work of community chests in north east London and support the scale up across London’s most deprived areas. We’ll be sharing this journey on Twitter at #LDNCCFund.

The community chest model

A Community Chest for social prescribing is a shared investment fund which supports the voluntary and community sector to deliver local activities:

  • It takes a “needs-led” approach to commissioning; responding to both the unmet needs of residents and the strengths of local groups and initiatives to address them.
  • It’s co-produced and co-owned; with a wide range of stakeholders developing the approach and setting priorities. This includes: link workers, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) representatives, clinicians, public health teams and residents. Community chests build on the existing partnership infrastructure to enable these groups to work together locally.
  • It’s equitable; ensuring funding is inclusive and accessible to previously under-served groups.

Why are community chests for social prescribing important?

  • They can foster integrated ways of working through place-based Partnerships (convening and combined investments by the NHS, local authorities and other stakeholders).
  • They are designed to address health inequalities at both local and hyperlocal levels, responding to community intelligence and promoting sustainable outcomes for communities.
  • They support the evolution of social prescribing through better data and investment in, and empowerment of, the VCSE sector.

Further information about community chests

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