“Social prescribing provides a pathway to refer clients to non-clinical services, linking clients to support from within the community to promote their wellbeing, to encourage social inclusion, to promote self-care where appropriate and to build resilience within the community and for the individual”
(Social Prescribing in Bristol Working Group, 2012).
Feedback gathered at two Service User Days in 2012 and 2013 identified needs that SIS had been unable to meet within the parameters and role boundaries of Community Interpreting. SIS developed a Social Prescribing Service through our Volunteer Linguist Health Promotion Project .
Volunteers working in 17 different languages support Service Users to find information about specialist services in the city, make appointments and link with these services through signposting and facilitated referrals, encourage those services to book community interpreters . Volunteer Linguists also help Service Users to understand correspondence, complete simple forms and make telephone calls on their behalf.
SIS holds a bimonthly Drop In at the BMECP where Service Users can meet face to face with Volunteer Linguists to discuss their Social Prescribing needs and formulate an action plan. Volunteers continue to work with Service Users through telephone support and additional meetings.
Service Users can also access the service, in their own language, by telephone, in writing, by email, via social media and through the website.
“It’s amazing to see people leave the Drop In – smiling and head held high because they no longer feel so lost in an alien system”
Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish Speaking Volunteer Linguists
“I feel much less isolated, less alone- my myriad difficulties that I had in my life upon arriving in Britain have been largely resolved with the help given to me. ….. Moreover, the help I have received from this organisation has made me open up socially- which is very difficult for me to do as a single mother here, with little knowledge of the language and the culture… I feel less fear, more confident- I feel much more able to work with people and develop myself professionally, to work hard and build a life here with my family.”
Spanish Speaking Service User
“I had come to the SIS Service User Day in 2012 where we had suggested SIS should develop a Drop-In service, I am delighted that SIS listened to us and this service is now up and running. I usually have to access support services where there is no Arabic speaker which is very difficult and I’m never confident that I’ve explained my situation properly or understood what is being done on my behalf…… The drop-in is a very good service for helping people, face to face. My quality of life is greatly improved by accessing the service.”
Arabic Speaking Service user
“At the SIS Drop-In there is always a helping hand; the volunteers can interpret the letters for me, make appointments and arrange interpreters. All the volunteers are absolutely amazing, they are really knowledgeable and can find the right service and get the accurate information I need for any day to day issues or complicated ones.”
Mandarin Speaking Service user