Connect @ The Hub

Connect to @ The Hub is a brand-new Social Prescribing service based at Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

The service helps young people who are experiencing problems find non-medical solutions and improve their health and wellbeing – both mentally and physically.

Jo Bowman will head up the team as project manager and she is joined by three link workers in Alex Simpson, Jane Hollis and Sharlaine Fincham.

They will join Mollie Ward, who has been working as a link worker for almost a year. She will continue her role alongside new colleagues thanks to further funding from the North Hardwick and Bolsover Primary Care Network (PCN).

In the coming weeks, an occupational therapist will be welcomed to the team as well.

This additional capacity enables the team to reach out to young people aged 11-18 across the area via referrals from school nurses or the North Hardwick and Bolsover PCN. 

Jo, who has 30 years of experience in working in the local community, is looking forward to the project taking shape.

She said: “I’ll be managing the project and looking at the sustainability of the project as well so that we can take it forward as something that is a really good example for other areas to take on.

“I’ve got three amazing new link workers and they are going to be social prescribing in the community with vulnerable young people aged from 11 to 18.

“I’ve worked within local communities, supporting vulnerable families and children with additional needs and special education needs. I’ve got lots of experience and I’m really pleased to be here.”

Link worker Alex spoke about his role, saying: “My role will be to work with young people in the community who are probably disengaged. 

“We will work with them to try and give them the tools move forward and get them involved in the community.

“Hopefully they will live a long and happier life. We want to work with them to try and get them involved in sports groups, reaching their goals, and to help them out in everyday life.”

Helen Burke, a specialist school nurse practitioner, believes that the project has a lot of potential and hopes to soon see it implemented throughout Derbyshire.

Helen said: “We’re doing a lot of work at the moment to get this template in service right and then we can evaluate it and review it. 

“Then further down the line, we can hopefully secure extra funds to expand this service across the county. But it’s all started here with Chesterfield Football Club so it’s a great starting point.”

Social Prescribing enables link workers to support young people with their wellbeing and engage them in their communities through sport, arts, youth clubs, film, volunteering and much more.

Follow the journey via the organisation’s new Instagram page @connecttothehub, which will be run by young people within the service.

*Photo shows, back row, from left to right: Sharlaine Fincham – Young People’s Link Worker, Alex Simpson – Young People’s Link Worker,  Jane Hollis – Young People’s Link Worker, Jo Bowman – Social Prescribing Project Manager. Mollie Ward – Young People’s Link Worker

Front row: Helen Burke – Specialist School Nurse Practitioner for Children & Young People’s Mental Health,  Amanda Millward – School Nurse, John Croot – Chesterfield FC & Chesterfield FC Community Trust CEO,  Andy Fantom – Chesterfield FC Chief Finance Officer, Kirsty Buxton – SPA/Admin Manager, Jayne Bacon – Chesterfield FC Community Trust Community Manager