Research into citizen-centred approaches to wellbeing commissioned by the RSE

As part of its Post Covid-19 Futures Commission, the RSE has commissioned research aiming to better understand the role of ‘social prescribing’ – citizen-centred approaches to wellbeing – that exist in Scotland and how this could be improved and expanded in the future.

Social prescribing is an important part of the wellbeing landscape. In its broadest terms, social prescribing can be defined as approaches for connecting people to non-medical sources of community support or resources. As part of this new research, we’re looking at how excellence in social prescribing can be applied more widely to Scotland’s public services.

This new research project, which is being carried out by Support in Mind Scotland, is seeking to build understanding on how excellence in social prescribing can be applied to Scotland’s public services, and wishes to hear the views of those who have experience in this area, in particular:

  • Those who offer social prescribing (such as GPs or other health workers);
  • those who work in the community and have participated in providing services or support through social prescribing arrangements;
  • those who have personal experience of accessing support through social prescribing.

Caroline Gardner, Chair of the Inclusive Public Service Working Group of the Post Covid-19 Futures Commission, states:

“We’re keen to learn from those involved with social prescribing, including people with personal experience of accessing support. We want to build up a picture of what’s happening now and what could happen – opportunities for change, for new practices and further innovations across the breadth of Scotland”.

The RSE-commissioned social prescribing research will produce its findings soon after Easter 2021. The research draws upon what people have highlighted both in the online survey and in face-to-face Zoom interviews – those who prescribe, provide and use social prescribing, plus in-depth research of many case studies across Scotland and the wider UK. The results will point to where social prescribing has come from and where it could move to, and what some of the barriers are to its improvement – all within the context of Covid-19.