LifeLink set to transform lives in Brandon and Mildenhall

A life changing initiative in West Suffolk is set to formally launch in Mildenhall and Brandon.

LifeLink, a social prescribing project has been successfully operating in Haverhill, with the support of One Haverhill Partnership. Now it is set to formally start this week in Mildenhall and Brandon where people are already signing up.

LifeLink (Social Prescribing) helps link people with groups or activities within their community that could make a positive difference to their wellbeing. This includes tackling loneliness, improving mental health, confidence or helping people get a job or volunteering opportunity.

West Suffolk Council with partners such as the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local organisations as well as volunteers are at the forefront of this initiative.

Representatives from the LifeLink will be at Brandon Market on October 10 and Mildenhall Market on October 11. People can get more information for themselves, a friend or family member at the stalls.

Abbeycroft, who are a partner in the project, has provided space at The Gym, Mildenhall and Brandon. Brandon Town Council have also provided a venue.

West Suffolk was chosen by government recently to visit to find out more about how social prescribing operated in the area.

A £600,000 investment from West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council, and West Suffolk CCG has meant the project could expand to Brandon and Mildenhall, as well as continuing in Haverhill. This funding will enable support through LifeLink for the next three years as a minimum. West Suffolk Council is working with West Suffolk CCG to expand the service across the larger area over the next few months.

Where it has been trialled in Haverhill participants experienced a significant increase in their wellbeing and visited the GP less frequently. Local groups and clubs have welcomed the opportunity to grow in numbers and develop new connections.

By working alongside people to address their health and wellbeing needs, it provides the space and time for people to talk through their current situation, including the positives and challenges, and their interests. From this, people can be linked to relevant organisations within the community and get the tailored support they need.

People can be referred to LifeLink by their GP, other organisations or make a self-referral, to get support on a range of issues.

Robert Everitt, Portfolio Holder for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council, said: “There is no doubt from talking to the people that have taken part that this service changes and improves lives. The early evidence shows it reduces the trips to the doctor for people taking part, helping them become fitter and healthier. It helps people gain confidence, improve their mental health and has even supported them getting the experience to get a job or help others. Already people are working with our co-ordinators in Brandon and Mildenhall. The whole process is very much done at the person’s pace with the support of partners. It is a great example of public and voluntary organisations coming together, breaking down barriers, and helping make a real difference to an individual’s life and also their communities.”

For further information please see our webpage www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/community/lifelink

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