Community Navigation

Social prescribing service linking people to community services and groups that improve health and wellbeing.

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Become a Community Navigator

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Welcome to the Community Navigation service

Established in August 2014, Community Navigation is a social prescribing service operating in partnership with GP surgeries across Brighton and Hove. Community Navigators are trained staff and volunteers with previous experience of supporting people.

They work with a person to help them identify and access the right local groups and services. Navigators facilitate onward referrals by making arrangements on the person’s behalf as needed, filling in forms, making appointments and following up.

Around half the people we support are aged over 65 and many are experiencing social isolation or anxieties about their medical conditions or wellbeing in general. Community Navigation is a proven method of helping people improve their wellbeing and access the services and groups they want and need.

We are recruiting for volunteers!

To find out more, and to apply, download the application pack here.

How it works

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People dancing at a community group

Linking with community groups for wellbeing

Sometimes people need more help and support than their GP surgery is able to provide. This is because many factors that make people unwell are not medical. This is where Community Navigation comes in.

Many of life’s problems can make people unwell

  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Anxiety, stress and depression
  • Housing, money and benefits issues
  • Work and unemployment
  • Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and weight loss
  • Language and cultural barriers

How Community Navigation helps

People who need extra help with their health and wellbeing are referred to the Community Navigation service by their GP, practice nurse or other healthcare professional:

  1. A team member meets the person one-to-one in a confidential space, either in surgery or at home
  2. They spend around an hour listening to the person to build understanding of their situation, identify concerns and discuss interests
  3. People are offered a range of services and groups in their community best suited to their needs and arrangements are made to help the person connect with these
  4. Support is usually provided over 2-3 months to make sure people can access the services they need
  5. A record of services arranged and any outcomes or changes are sent back to the referring surgery
  6. Outcome calls are made 3-6 months later to make sure each person is still receiving the support they need
CN Stages of Support

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Diagram showing stages of support provided

For referrers

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Community Navigation is a person-centred social prescribing service that helps link adults over 18 with services in their community to support their health and wellbeing.

Who can refer?

Any primary care healthcare professional or staff member within a Brighton and Hove GP surgery.

Who is the service for?

  • Aged 18 and over (no upper age limit)
  • Those with social, practical or emotional needs currently unmet
  • Registered with a GP Practice in Brighton and Hove
  • Those experiencing language barriers (through a specialist partner)

Typical needs addressed:

  • Social Isolation and loneliness
  • Mild to moderate mental health, low mood and anxiety
  • Financial, housing and social welfare issues
  • Exercise and healthy living
  • Those requiring carer or mobility support

Who is not suitable for this service?

Those people identified as follows will be more appropriately supported through an alternative referral pathway:

  • Known to be aggressive or violent
  • Severe and enduring mental health issues
  • Dementia diagnosis (carers are supported)
  • Currently seeing a Community Psychiatric Nurse
  • In drug or alchohol recovery
  • Seeing a probation officer
  • People who are unable to engage or make decisions about next steps

What do I need to do to refer?

  1. Gain consent from the patient to refer
  2. Complete referral form on SystmOne or EMIS
  3. Submit form to secure NHS email address on the form
  4. Print or show patient leaflet and briefly explain the service

How will I receive feedback?

  1. A monthly summary of patients being seen is sent to the Practice Manager by secure NHS email
  2. When each case is closed – outcomes and summary notes for the referrer are submitted by secure NHS email for adding to medical records by a designated practice staff member

Safeguarding and risk

Full governance procedures are in place. All staff members are appropriately trained with necessary disclosure and barring (DBS) checks in place for working with vulnerable people. All work is carried out to the highest professional standards backed by full indemnity insurance. Written consent from patients to refer them on to services in their communities is obtained.

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The Community Navigation team (above) are supported by a group of skilled volunteers


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Become a Community Navigator

Join our superb team of volunteer Community Navigators linked to GP surgeries across Brighton & Hove!

We’re recruiting volunteers to help people find and access local groups and services to improve their health and wellbeing.

Community Navigation volunteers have:

  • Experience of helping people in a supporting or caring role
  • Great communication skills
  • Four hours a week to give regularly

Our volunteers receive lots of support and are part of a friendly, committed team. All Community Navigators have access to ongoing, specialist training and receive out of pocket expenses.

Our Navigators tell us:
“It’s empowering, seeing what you can do as a Navigator”
“The best part of the role is improving someone’s wellbeing and helping them connect with the community”

For more information, or to apply, click here, or for an informal chat about the role contact: / 01273 229385

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Knowledge hub

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Sharing social prescribing knowledge

Social prescribing is a holistic one-to-one service on referral that supports people with non-medical issues. The service supports people to access services and groups in their community to improve health and wellbeing.

Social prescribing is fast becoming a social movement in the UK to help health care professionals improve the health and wellbeing of their patients. It is one of ten high impact actions in the NHS Five Year Forward View for reducing pressure on primary care.

Brighton and Hove Impetus is at the forefront of developments with its respected Community Navigation scheme operating since 2014. The service supports patients of all GP practices in Brighton and Hove and is funded by Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning group.

Impetus Community Navigation Evaluation reports

Downloads of our evaluation reports can be found in the Overview tab above.

Outcomes framework for Social Prescribing

A Purpose-Designed, Built-In Outcomes Framework for Social Prescribing Click to view full size (PDF 1249kb, opens in new tab)

This research poster summarises a purpose-designed, built-in outcomes framework that forms the core of the Community Navigation monitoring methodology.

For further information please use the enquire button below or call 01273 229385

Evaluating a Social Prescribing service

A short video on the Community Navigation outcomes framework presented by Clair Rowe, Service Manager:

Consultancy and training support and tools

  1. The process
  2. Five modules:

    1. Ensuring the model is effective where you are
    - Navigating the local commissioning landscape
    - Generating referrals and building referrer relationships
    - Onward referral navigation
    2. Supporting you to set up swiftly and effectively
    - Practical/operational set up
    - Operational tools
    3. Helping you employ the right people
    - Staff and volunteer recruitment processes
    - Support with training and induction programmes
    - Developing person and training specs
    4. Capturing the right information at key points
    - Data capture
    - Measuring changes to people, systems and communities
    5. Supporting your position for long term sustainability
    - Stakeholder relationships
    - Ensuring on-going good practice

  3. The tools
  4. Robust systems have been developed and thoroughly tested since the service began, creating a suite of tools available in modules or as a complete programme including Guided Conversation and Wellbeing Web.

    This is supported by consultancy to help set up new schemes and develop or expand existing ones.

    Available in modular form or as a full programme

    Staff/Volunteer induction manual
    Training programmes, modules and presentation tools
    Referral induction training and information for GP surgery staff
    Developing a local directory template
    Data collection map and outcomes monitoring tools
    The social prescribing process and learning in detail

    Contribution to practice and policy

    The Kings Fund
    Volunteering in general practice: Opportunities and insights – February 2018 | Read more

    Outcomes monitoring and data collection – resources

    Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact #3 Creating a data friendly City – Tuesday 6 March 2018 | Read more

    Monitoring evaluation and impact: A call for change | Read more



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For more information about the Community Navigation service at Impetus please call 01273 229382

Clair Rowe (Service Manager) —
Alex Brining (Team Leader) —
Mel Pickett (Coordinator) —
Rachel Collins (Coordinator) —
Seb Feast (Data & Admin Officer) —

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Alex, Clair, Mel and Seb

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Social prescribing brings a real buzz to Brighton #SocialPrescribing19
Posted on 13th March 2019 by