Joining a community group could be just what the doctor ordered. after new app launches for Bristol GPs
PEOPLE will be prescribed a trip to community groups and activities to improve their health and wellbeing as part of a pilot project being carried out in Knowle West.
Walking groups, dance groups, bingo and film clubs in the area have signed up to the project to help people who might be feeling isolated get more engaged in their community.
If the pilot is a success it could be rolled out across the city.
The Social Mirror project is being run by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and is supported by Knowle West Media Centre and the MIT Center for Civic Media.
A digital application or app has been developed to help work out which people in the community could benefit from the service.
It consists of a questionnaire which will be used in GP surgeries to establish whether over 65s and 18-25 year olds have enough friends or acquaintances.
If people are found to have a limited network of people around them, groups or activities will be prescribed to widen their social circle.
The questionnaire also takes into account people's health and mobility issues so that the activities suggested are specifically tailored to their needs and abilities.
Existing community groups have signed up and have been given training to ensure people feel included and enjoy their experiences of the organisations they attend.
RSA senior researcher Gaia Marcus said: "The project in Knowle West came about because, in our research, we found that a lot of people rely on doctors and places like Filwood Hope (advice centre) for social support and advice. We thought it would be great if we could give GPs and community workers an easy way of understanding what people's social connections look like, and what is out there."
Sue Mackinnon of Knowle West Media Centre has been recruiting local groups for the project.
"I think this is wonderful, I feel social inclusion is a community problem and that is why we want to get local groups and the whole of the Knowle West community to tackle this," she said.