Making Music has partnered with the Singing for Health Network and other organisations to publish free downloadable guides on social prescribing for leaders of music groups across the UK, and for social prescribers (also known as link workers).
What is social prescribing?
Part of the NHS Personalised Care programme, social prescribing is a way for GPs and local agencies to refer people to a ‘link worker’, who takes a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They then connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.
Why singing and playing music?
There is a growing evidence base which highlights the health benefits of singing or playing music in a group. These activities can be particularly effective for improving mental health and wellbeing, and combatting loneliness and isolation. Singing in particular can support lung health and be used to help the management of symptoms for conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s.
Baz Chapman, Singing for Health Network Manager, says:
‘There is extensive research to show the benefits of singing for a range of health conditions, particularly those which social prescribing is set up to address, such as mental health, wellbeing and feelings of anxiousness and isolation. While there are many successful social prescribing schemes for singing groups in place across the UK, there’s huge potential for more, and we want to support a greater connection between singing groups and social prescribers through these free resources.’
Resources for music groups and link workers
First created in 2021 in consultation with Making Music, Music for Good, National Academy for Social Prescribing, Natural Voice Network, Sing for Pleasure, Sound Sense and the Singing Network UK and then updated in November 2022, the Singing for Health Network (SFHN) launched two free guides, one aimed at choirs and one at link workers, to help both sides understand each other and how to interact.
- Download SFHN guide for singing groups
- Download SFHN guide for link workers working with singing groups
Making Music has developed additional free resources to apply to both singing and instrumental groups.
- Download singing and instrumental guide for any music group
- Download singing and instrumental guide for link workers working with any music group
These resources include:
- an example timeline of social prescribing for a choir
- suggestions for how to brief your link worker about your group
- a template for gathering information for your link worker about what your group does
Making Music members can also access additional templates, policies and tools to use alongside the guides. Access the Making Music member resources.
We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.