Social Prescribing Day: How we support young people through our social prescribing project

Active Gloucestershire's Activity on Referral programme links young people with physical activity opportunities to support their mental health

Lisa Kankowski

10 Mar 2022

Image of cartoon people being active with the Social Prescribing Day logo

The 10 March is Social Prescribing Day. Our Activity on Referral Project is a Social Prescribing Plus project and supports children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues into physical activity.


Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.

We know that 1 in 6 children aged 5-16 is likely to have a mental health problem.


Physical Activity (and that is movement of any kind) has been shown to positively impact ones’ mental health through:

  • Improvements in social cognition, functional capacity, and quality of life
  • Increased social interaction, shared experiences, optimism, and life satisfaction
  • Reduced stress, worries, cognitive decline, and loneliness
  • Improved self-esteem, increases in perceived social support and a sense of belonging, often facilitated through social interaction and a sense of belonging
  • Improvements in psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and affective disorders
  • Reduction in depressive symptoms (including low mood and energy)


We know that being physically active has a great, positive impact on our mental health. This is what the families of the participating young people have to say:


“His confidence he just loves it and is really excited to go every time. It was a real benefit at the time as well with what we were going through, I think it helped him here a lot.” 

- J’s mum


[Sometimes] he can doubt himself and feel he isn’t good at anything but this has given him more belief in himself that he is good at something and that he can achieve things”.

- J’s mum


"N, 12 years old from Gloucester "is really enjoying his 1–1 boxing sessions with Truth Boxing Club at the moment, his anxiety seems to be starting to become manageable.

- N's Mum


E, 8 years old from Gloucester:  "is thriving in dance and would love to carry on after. I think it's a brilliant service and has gave her so much confidence. They have competitions and shows which I think will really boost her confidence. Thank you so much.''

- E’s mum






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Lisa Kankowski
10 Mar 2022

Youth Activity Referral Lead at Active Gloucestershire