The Northern Arc of Kindness and Support

July 9, 2021

Imagine a community where people don’t always need to seek out ‘professionals’ for support.  Instead, one where support comes from within the community itself.  From people walking alongside one another, sharing interests, providing connection and kindness.

This is becoming the reality for patients at GP surgeries across  the ‘Northern Arc’ group (Southmead and Henbury Family Practice, Pioneer Medical Group and Shirehampton).  Supported by Southmead Development Trust, Champions from these GP practices are gifting their time to link with other patients through ‘Chatty Calls’ and a huge range of new groups and activities.

On a Tuesday morning, if you pass by the Health Education Room at Southmead Health Centre, you’re likely to hear the poetry group with snippets of Wordsworth or Pam Ayres (they’ve got an eclectic taste!).  If you hang around too long you might be persuaded to join the Couch to 5K that patients are leading at Blaise.  Or does developing the grounds of the Health Centre take your fancy?  There will soon be a space here with raised beds for patients to use for regular gardening sessions.  And there’s not a ‘professional’ in sight (well, not in a leadership role at least – some doctors are becoming regulars at the poetry sessions!).

Being ‘done to’ isn’t something that features in this pioneering model.  Instead, patients of the practices ring other patients for a friendly chat.  No one is in any position of authority or power.  Those initiating the Chatty Calls get just as much out of them as the people they are building friendships with.

At the heart of this new ‘Collaborative Practice’ way of working is human connection, with no formal ‘wellbeing scales’ to measure progress.  People are gifting their time and showing true kindness.  We don’t need charts and computers to tell us that this is good for society.

Would you like to become a Champion?  Please contact Colette Brown.  Email: colettebrown@southmead.org or telephone: 0117 950 3335

Find out more about Social Prescribing here>