A Community Connector in Salford has been named the national Link Worker of the Year.
Debs Johnson won the accolade in the national Social Prescribing Network Awards 2021.
Debs’ role as a Community Connector is to work with adults referred by their general practice and listen to what matters to them as a person, and what would improve their health and well-being. She then shares relevant local activities and connects people to groups and services in the community for support.
Debs works across Eccles, Irlam and Cadishead for local social enterprise, Unlimited Potential, as part of the Wellbeing Matters programme in Salford.
“We are very proud of what Debs achieves on a daily basis”, said Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive of Unlimited Potential. “She frequently goes above and beyond to enable local people to take more control of their lives.”
One local person said about Debs: “You helped me find my focus and made me realise what I needed to do to feel better. I wouldn’t have started otherwise.”
Dr. Michael Dixon, Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network, added: “Projects have found creative ways to continue their reach to people who are even more isolated or lonely or anxious as a result of the pandemic.”
During the COVID-19 situation, Debs swiftly adapted both to telephone and online working, and to a shift in some topics of concern to local people, including where they were either isolated or in difficult home circumstances. She also works together with the local Volunteer Development Worker, so that the capacity of community groups to support people is developed.
“I feel both proud and humbled to have received this award”, said Debs. “Being able to support people in Salford and help them find their focus when they are going through a difficult time is so vital. Winning this award serves to remind me of the valuable work that the Wellbeing Matters team does across Salford each day.”