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Social Prescribing: Your Community Health Centre is a New Gateway to Community Wellbeing

March 11, 2019

Wasaga Beach, Ontario – March 11, 2019 – The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre (SGBCHC) is pleased to announce they have been chosen as one of 11 Community Health Centres across Ontario to take part in a social prescribing pilot program. We know anecdotally that people are healthier when connected to social and community supports. The goal of this project is to develop non-medical, cost effective interventions that focus on addressing the social determinants of health through social prescribing. This will enable primary healthcare professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical, community services and activities.

Originating in the United Kingdom, social prescribing can take many forms such as cooking and exercise programs, art classes, and community gardening. Through social prescribing, people experience improved mental health, are less isolated or lonely, and are more physically active; healthcare providers are able to use their time more effectively by redirecting non-medical appointments to more suitable resources; and communities see improvements in sense of connectedness and belonging.

“We are pleased to be selected to take part in this important pilot project and are thankful for the support of our community partners. People trust their doctor or nurse practitioner’s advice – social prescribing builds on that trust and guides people toward activities that will promote health and wellbeing far beyond what can happen during a standard medical appointment,” said Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre.

The SGBCHC nurse practitioners and physicians are using social prescribing by referring their clients to the centre’s free community programs such as the Card Club, Coffee and Colour group and the Friendly Visiting program – being offered by the centre’s volunteers. Many clients have expressed that the programs are making them feel more socially connected and less isolated and lonely.

“The programs and services at the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre have helped me in every aspect of my life – physically, mentally and socially. I feel happy when I visit the centre and I’m so grateful for the programs they offer,” said Isabel Loucks, SGBCHC client.

To learn more about the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre programs that are free and open to everyone, please visit www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca. For more information about social prescribing, visit www.allianceon.org/Rx-Community-Social-Prescribing.

About South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre

The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre is a non-profit, community-governed, charitable organization that focuses on the health and wellbeing of individuals in the community. They provide everyone in the community with access to healthcare services, free community programs and community development. The SGBCHC is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network. For more information please visit www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca.

Media Contact:
Louise Picot
Communications
South Georgian Bay CHC
705-606-1549
louise@louisepicot.com

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