The Social Prescribing service was introduced in summer 2018 and has supported around 1,100 people referred to it by their doctor. The service helps patients who need a more community-based approach - where the root causes for their physical ill-health are around money, debt and benefits, employment and housing or social isolation.

The service has been so successful that all of the partners involved in the scheme have committed further funding so that the project can continue until the end of March 2024. The service managed by Chichester District Council is also funded in partnership with GPs through Primary Care Networks and housing associations Hyde and Clarion.

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council said: "Initially the Social Prescribing service was a pilot project, but has been extremely successful in helping a specific group of patients find long-term solutions to their problems, which were taking a huge toll on their physical and mental health. We are delighted to support this invaluable service to continue for the next four years."

During the coronavirus crisis the Social Prescribing service has also been adapting to meet the immediate needs of people who are more vulnerable and self-isolating. This can often mean a simple, but much-appreciated weekly welfare check by phone or video call, as well as linking clients to community services for practical support.

The team is providing signposting and guidance to help people manage both practical matters and emotional anxieties with issues ranging from finances, mental health, domestic abuse, employment and housing.

During the lockdown period, people can now self-refer themselves to the service by calling 01243 521041.

Date of release: 28 May 2020

Reference: 3881