A team lean across a table to discuss work
The potential impact of your social prescribing in the West Midlands on employment and the economy.

Research undertaken as part of a 15-month collaboration between the Institute of Community Research and Development (ICRD) at the University of Wolverhampton and the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WMREDI) seeks to examine existing social prescribing provision for young people in the West Midlands and its economic, and employability impact.

This project aims to consider the need for, benefits of, and potential barriers to, accessing social prescribing interventions for young people in the West Midlands, with a particular focus on its impact on employability and the local economy.

Social prescribing aims to help people access local, non-clinical services and activities provided by voluntary and community organisations in order to support their social, emotional and practical needs.

The authors, Joanne Mills, Francesca Hutchin and Dr Rachel Hopley have produced a research digest, which summarises a rapid scoping review of the need for, and provision of, social prescribing for young people in the region, together with presenting initial findings and recommendations for future work, which is further intended to inform and stimulate discussion with practitioners, policymakers, commissioners and researchers in the field.

This research digest forms part of an exploratory research project into social prescribing provision for young people in the West Midlands and its economic, and employability impact.

The recommendations from this review are three-fold:

  • To get a better understanding of the current provision of social prescribing for young people in the West Midlands that is not readily publicly accessible, and how employment features in this provision.
  • Establishing and develop effective coordinated social prescribing interventions for young people within the West Midlands that provides financial and employment support and involves young people in the design of the services - early intervention through appropriate youth social prescribing has the potential to have a long-lasting impact.
  • Social providing schemes should have a robust method to track the effectiveness and impact of financial and employment support. While initial financial outlay on the provision of such services may be difficult in the current economic climate, our research shows that the economic benefits to both the individual and the region could potentially outweigh this, so it is important that there is the ability to capture this within monitoring data.

“I am delighted to see the publication of this important report, the result of a collaboration between ICRD researchers and the team at WMREDI. It fills a crucial gap in our knowledge of social prescribing in the region and beyond, and will ultimately contribute to better services and improved employment and wellbeing outcomes for young people.”

James Rees, Deputy Director of The Institute for Community Research and Development

Read the report – Research Digest: Social Prescribing for Young People in the West Midlands: The Potential Impact on Employment and the Economy