At first glance, it might not be particularly obvious what it means. It might even sound a bit medical or, dare we say it, dull?
But in fact, economic social prescribing (or ESP) is an exciting and innovative way that we are supporting people impacted by homelessness.
It combines tailored work and education opportunities with therapeutic support, in order to set people on the path to new lives.
For many people, finding work or entering education or training is a key step on their path out of homelessness. However, we know from experience that providing Work + Learning opportunities without addressing other underlying psychological needs makes it less likely that people will successfully engage with them. Imagine if you experienced trauma, or felt completely isolated, or no-one ever talked to you about your options before – wouldn’t you find it difficult to apply for jobs or start a new course at college?
ESP addresses this by treating wellbeing and work together. It provides careers workshops, one-to-one sessions, pathways into training and employment and ongoing personal support around jobs. Alongside that, it provides wellbeing support including counselling, alternative therapies and signposting to local mental health services.
By looking at both areas together, we can deliver completely tailored support to each person. We can provide the specific combination of training, careers advice and wider therapeutic support they need. We address the reasons why they may be hesitant to engage in work or learning before connecting them with these opportunities. In doing so, we increase their chances for success.
The impacts of our ESP work are wide ranging – among other things, it is already:
Ultimately, our programme helps people to move more successfully into independence, leaving homelessness behind for good.
“I had sessions with Evolve’s wellbeing therapists and started to see that I have the answers for my problems inside me. That’s something I would want to encourage in other people: you hold the key to your own improvement.”
– TR, former Evolve service user
This year, we are raising money for this programme to cover the costs of staff and its day to day running. From midday on 29 November to midday on 6 December, every donation made to our Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign will be doubled by our generous match funders. That means when you give, you make twice the impact. For more information, please do visit our Big Give page here.