A project to tackle isolation in Huddersfield has been shortlisted in the Social Prescribing Network Awards 2022.

The Growing Friends of Community Activity in Lindley (FOCAL) project has been shortlisted for the Award for Best Community-based Organisation in Social Prescribing.

Kirklees Council’s Social Prescribing team worked alongside anchor organisation Local Services 2 You to help residents come together face-to-face as part of the community response to Covid-19.

What started off as a small initiative to help a few people combat loneliness and isolation quickly grew. Anchor organisations and local businesses came together to reopen the FOCAL Community Centre building as quickly as possible to provide a safe space for people to come together.

Patients referred to the council’s Social Prescribing team were also encouraged to join activities at FOCAL which included potting plants donated by locals and growing vegetables. The group is now self-sufficient and continues to grow with little intervention required from outside.

READ MORE: Here’s how Growing Focal was started by Christine Parker   

Clr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I am delighted to hear that our project to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in Lindley has been recognised by this award shortlisting.

“It’s a great example of how our social prescribing link workers in Kirklees have teamed up with health and voluntary sector partners to plant a seed and facilitate the mental wellbeing of residents.

“We recognise the toll the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people’s mental health and it’s really important that we continue to work in collaboration with our partners to combat isolation and loneliness in our communities so that people can live well for longer.”

The FOCAL group has gone from strength to strength and now offers a full range of activities for locals to get involved in from crafts activities to toddler groups and exercise classes.

The full list of shortlisted candidates can be found on the Social Prescribing Network Awards 2022 website. Winners will be announced during an online ceremony on March 10.