A whole community approach to ending social isolation through a social prescribing network

Our Story


aith communities, churches, union members and the Mt Gravatt Community Centre came together and decided they wanted to make change in the local community through community organising with the QLD Community Alliance.

Together we listened to over a hundred stories of issues that our community faces.

In April 2018 we crammed into St Mark’s Uniting Church and our community members voted to act on loneliness and social isolation.

We then started a process of “research-action” and we spoke to a wide range of community groups and academics. We quickly learned that this was not an easy problem to fix and so we decided to think creatively.

In August of 2018 we set up a working group with local Councillors, our local MPs and the University of QLD to develop solutions.

It was here that we developed a world-leading pilot for a social prescribing network in QLD.

The Social Isolation Project

Loneliness and social isolation has serious consequences for individual health and well-being with studies finding that it is associated with a 29% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease, a 32% increase in risk of stroke and 26% increased mortality rate. Loneliness and social isolation is recognised as a pressing issue facing societies around the world with the former US Surgeon General warning of an “epidemic of loneliness” and the newly appointed Minister for Loneliness in the UK rolling out a nationwide multi-agency loneliness strategy.

The Mt Gravatt Social Isolation Project is funded by the Queensland Government, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors and provides the Mt Gravatt Community Centre with a Community Link Worker. The Community Link Worker’s role is to connect socially isolated members of the community to meaningful group programs and activities through social prescribing. The Social Isolation Project provides community members and organisations the opportunity to refer individuals who have been identified as socially isolated or experiencing loneliness. We also accept referrals from GPs, occupational therapists, local primary health care providers, and RAS Assessors and will link patients with sources of group support within the community. The Social Isolation Project also provides medical professionals with a non-medical referral option that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and well-being.

This project demonstrate how a whole of government approach to a major community issue can be addressed through a collaborative model. The Mt Gravatt Community Centre, in partnership with the University of Queensland, will be tracking the progress and outcomes of the two projects and developing a comprehensive report to the government.

How it Works

Social prescribing is a way of linking people with sources of group support within the community.

It’s the difference between going to your doctor or your physio who may say to you “I think you should join a gardening group” or seeking support from your health professional and having them say “I’m going to introduce you to our link worker who will explore your interests and connect you with a local gardening group that will best fit your needs and wants”.

We are mapping the community, and educating doctors and health professionals. We’re talking to groups and clubs in the community, organisations, services, schools and sport clubs, to get everyone on the same page.

By working with the University of QLD, we hope the data can then be used across the country to improve the way we understand loneliness and how primary health care providers and the communities should respond.

What Suburbs Do We Cover?

  • Mt Gravatt

  • Mt Gravatt East

  • Upper Mt Gravatt

  • Carindale

  • Buranda

  • Carina

  • Mackenzie

  • Sunnybank

  • Sunnybank Hills

  • Nathan

  • Mansfield

  • Holland Park

  • Holland Park West

  • Wishart

  • MacGregor

  • Greenslopes

  • Coorparoo

  • Eight Mile Plains

If you’re not strictly in these suburbs
but are nearby, please still get in touch!

Mt Gravatt Community Centre
1693 Logan Rd, Upper Mount Gravatt QLD 4122
P: 0491 625 869
E: linkworker@mgcci.org.au

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