Voluntary Action Camden

Camden COVID-19 Community Response

Role: Donna Turnbull - Community Development Manager Date: Sept. 2020

"Our Care Navigation and Social Prescribing service was central to the local community response in Camden."

I think COVID-19 has amplified a lot of existing issues. For example, all the existing big issues at the root of social prescribing referrals are still there – like health inequalities, food poverty, low wages and high cost of living – but manifesting themselves differently.

Our real-time social prescribing data has been invaluable to help us anticipate and plan responses as things change. We’re dealing with crisis across most of our usual referral themes, rather than the prevention or improvement of poor health that social prescribing would normally address.

"Being agile to adapt quickly and being well networked has been really important."

We were able to adjust quickly to take on food and medication deliveries to vulnerable residents through existing pathways, and we work closely with local GPs, NHS, Council, VCSE organisations and residents.

We run a real-time directory for VCSEs to update with emerging services, and this enabled us to refer residents for support as needs arose.

We also set up an online Voluntary Action Forum to explore and respond to new VCS support needs.

"We’re exploring how we can continue task-based volunteering to support social prescribing beyond the COVID-19 response."

New additions to the service are still emerging but we’re keen to capitalise on relationships built from the COVID-19 response to support Public Health and GPs with COVID-19 testing, and we’ve been supporting the flu campaign.

We’re also exploring how some of the more task-based volunteering we’ve used to support social prescribing during the COVID-19 response might continue. We’ve found a simple but effective way to support residents waiting to be admitted to some mental health services is through phone check-ins.


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