Funding boost for 'Going Local' project

Thursday 13th September, 2018

Screenshot of title page from Going Local video

A project which has seen more than 1,000 people referred by their GPs for help in combating problems in their personal lives is set to continue.

Known as ‘social prescribing’, local GPs can refer patients to the ‘Going Local’ project if they think that non-medical problems might also be impacting on their health. Those referred are helped to identify solutions to the problems ranging from housing, employment and financial worries to loneliness, bereavement and lifestyle issues.

Going Local presently runs out of six local GPs surgeries, and is hosted by Adur and Worthing Councils in partnership with West Sussex County Council and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group. It began as a two-year pilot in 2016 and now has funding until September 2020.

Going Local’s ‘Community Referrers’ help patients seek solutions and access local resources. Patients have been encouraged to join local social groups and clubs, and volunteer with local charities. They have also been referred to specialist organisations which can give them further advice.

The funding extension comes as Adur & Worthing Councils release a video showing the benefits of the project. In the video, local resident Carol Hilton, who has been suffering from depression, talks about the support she has received from an Adur & Worthing Councils Community Referrer, Tom Visconti

With Tom’s support, she has join local groups and activities which help combat her a sense of isolation and improve her mental health.  “If I hadn't met Tom, I wouldn't be around anymore,” she admits.

Official evaluation of the project shows that the project has not only helped people improve their wellbeing, but it has freed up more time for doctors to concentrate on patients with purely medical issues. Appointments are also less likely to run overtime.

Councillor Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing said:

“The data is telling us that through the project people feel better connected, more active and able to give and keep learning. These are key elements for building resilience and wellbeing. We are delighted that the project can continue until Sept 2020 which will enable many more to benefit from this great service.”

Councillor David Simmons, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing said:

“This is an excellent project and we are frequently told that people feel stronger, more resilient and able to cope with the many challenges life presents.  GPs have ten minutes with patients, our community referers have hour-long sessions, delivered flexibly, at the individual’s pace and catered to their needs.”

The project has also been highly commended for its use of digital technology. In July, Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP praised the project for its creative use of a specially designed digital app for both referring patients and helping them access local resources.  

This year, the project also funded a new independent and specialist Housing Advice Service specifically for people referred through Going Local. The support is delivered in collaboration with Citizens Advice, working in partnership with Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.