BLISS=Ability: How a new project is aiming to improve lives in South Tyneside

A new project led by a South Tyneside charity is set to improve the lives of residents in the borough through social prescribing.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 8:01 am
From left: Your Voice Counts Dave Woolley, Lottery funding manager Kathryn Foley, ACTS Grahame Cassidy and BLISS=Ability Sharon Bell with Deputy Mayoress Marie Hobson and Mayoress Gladys Hobson.

South Shields-based charity, BLISS=Ability, has been awarded £330,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver the Step Up project, which aims to improve the health and well-being of South Tyneside residents.

Social prescribing is when individuals are referred to non-clinical activities and services in the community, in order to improve their mood and motivation, and increase their overall sense of well-being.

Project link workers will help people to find out about the activities and support groups on offer in South Tyneside, and encourage them to find something they enjoy doing.

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Clients visit Big Lottery Step Up partnership project launch.

BLISS=Ability has partnered with Age Concern Tyneside South, and advocacy service Your Voice Counts to help them reach more people in the borough who could benefit from the project.

BLISS=Ability manager, Sharon Bell said: “Following on from our success in the recent Lottery funded project Step Up, BLISS=Ability is now working in partnership with Age Concern Tyneside South and Your Voice Counts to develop the project and enable more people to engage with the project.”

She explained: “People with low mood or who feel socially isolated tend to feel a loss of motivation and well-being, and so feel less inclined to do anything.

“Social prescribing is a way of finding something to do that the clients will enjoy, which will help lift their mood and motivate them. It follows that the client’s sense of well-being will be improved.”

Mayoress Gladys Hobson speaks at the Big Lottery Step Up partnership project launch.

Kathryn Foley, National Lottery funding manager for the North East and Cumbria, commented: “Bliss=ability is one of the first projects to be funded in South Tyneside via the national lottery community fund’s Partnership Programme. The programme seeks to fund projects where organisations are working together to tackle issues that they wouldn’t be able to address alone.”

She added: “The Step Up project in South Tyneside stood out as a good example of the type of user lead, people focused work we aim to fund. We really hope the project makes a success of the social prescribing model they are aspiring to.”