Community Connections

A social prescribing project in Weston-super-Mare in partnership with the For All Healthy Living Centre, Theatre Orchard and Alliance Homes.

2018 – ongoing.

Community Connections aims to reduce health inequalities by improving the health and wellbeing of people living in the South Ward of Weston-super-Mare through a Social Prescribing Service.

It is a partnership project between Arts & Health South West, the For All Healthy Living Centre, Alliance Homes and Theatre Orchard.

The project takes an asset-based approach to working in partnership with local organisations to strengthen existing efforts to develop community capacity. The project is funded for three years by the Tudor Trust and Arts Council England through a Catalyst Evolve award to Arts & Health South West. The funding supports the post of a Social Prescriber employed by the For All Healthy Living Centre (FAHLC). It also funds the evaluation of the project which includes a Theory of Change and Evaluation Frameworkdeveloped with the New Economics Foundation and a Creative Evaluation delivered by Theatre Orchard. The evaluation is being developed and delivered to align with Alliance Homes’ asset-based community development project, Our Neighbourhood. The learning will be shared by Arts & Health South West via the Regional Strategy.

The Creative Connecting project is about using creative approaches and thinking to help join up the dots between strategic initiatives and local energy and potential. It:

  • Supports the connection between community assets and more formal health and public services.
  •  Ensures GPs and other health professionals can refer patients to activities that are available within the community and led by the community – social prescribing + asset-based community development.
  • Builds on existing activities and supports their sustainability
  • Identifies gaps in provision for further development
  • Shares learning across the region in order to develop similar initiatives elsewhere

Health Context

South Ward of Weston-super-Mare is an area of high health inequality. The North Somerset Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) identifies the following priorities:

  • Particularly poor health outcomes and joblessness in certain geographical areas, especially Weston-super-Mare Central and South wards.
  • Poor outcomes in certain vulnerable groups, including those with a mental illness and on low incomes.

North Somerset is part of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

The Social Prescriber was appointed in September 2018 and the project was launched in the FAHLC in January 2019. You can download the leaflet about the project here.

Recent Project Updates

Bournville Tapestry – A collection of fables about flourishing, told near the sea.

The Bournville Tapestry brings together a series of stories inspired by Community Connections.  The stories span the time before and after the COVID-19 emergency and lockdown of Spring 2020.

The Bournville Tapestry represents a fraction of the stories that could be told. The stories were gathered through a series of individual zooms with writer, Elspeth Penny, in August and September 2020. Often vibrant and passionate, the Bournville Tapestry is about different points of view, sometimes entertaining and always illuminating.

It is a tapestry of a seascape with lots of loose threads, unfinished. As time goes on more threads can be gathered. Not all stories have been able to be included, so there may be holes in the tapestry. Perhaps by continuing to listen to stories from different perspectives, we may mend some of those holes, and perhaps avoid a fixed ending, at least for now.

Find out more about the Bournville Tapestry 

Bournville Tapestry

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