Today marks ‘Social Prescribing Day‘ – a national day to celebrate the achievements of social prescribing in supporting the health and wellbeing of isolated adults. There seemed no better way to mark this special occasion than by chatting directly with one of our very own service users and hearing the difference social prescribing made to them!
Today we met up and interviewed Ifte, a resident of Lewisham for the past few years who came into contact with our service last November.
Do you remember how you first found out about Community Connections?
I was referred through the Community Mental Health Service in Lewisham. I spoke to Anna on your phone line and she was so helpful, arranging foodbank delivery for me because I had very little money and had to stay indoors due to my health problems. We talked about why I was feeling depressed and isolated too and she arranged for Jim to visit me at my home and help me find more things.
How would you describe your situation when our team first got in touch with you?
I was feeling isolated and depressed with no family or friends around, and I was still new to the borough so didn’t know about any services around me. My health has been bad because of my diabetes, sciatic pain in my back, and having Covid. I felt trapped indoors, and mentally I felt like I was stuck in a cage. I also needed help to apply for benefits and did not have any computer or internet at home. So I was really struggling.
What did you want to change?
I wanted to become more integrated with my community, finding places where I could meet some new people and learn new skills. I wanted to keep myself busy and help others through new things like volunteering and getting more exercise. I also really wanted to have internet access so I could search for things by myself and communicate with others online.
What difference did Community Connections make for you?
The first thing was that having their support boosted my confidence a lot. Within a few months I felt like I had doubled up my integration, communication and skills. I found out where and how to get things like food support and I was taken to ‘Wild Cat Wilderness’ where I met new people who also enjoyed gardening and food growing.
Probably the most helpful thing was introducing me to Catbytes IT group at Stanstead Lodge. They delivered a free laptop to me, which I now take every day to my local supermarket café, getting some exercise and logging on to the internet. The computer is a real hub for communication and was one more step forward in breaking my isolation. Since having it I’ve been able to read the news, have zoom meetings with my nurse, order my prescriptions and research training courses online. Without the computer I couldn’t have made that step.
What do you hope to do in future?
When the weather gets warmer I want to go back to ‘Wild Cat Wilderness’ and hopefully start my own small allotment where I can plant food and relax outdoors. I also want to return to work again in future and have been using my laptop to research and start applying for paid apprenticeships.
Would you recommend CCL to others?
Yes! I’ve already recommended your service to two other people I met and told them how efficient and helpful they were on the phone line. In our borough there’s a lot of single people who are left alone and Community Connections can really help to shine a light on isolated people’s day to day lives.
If you or someone you support in Lewisham would like help exploring the great groups and resources that Lewisham has to offer then please get in touch with our team on 0330 0583 464. We’d love to hear from you!