Here is a short check list with some helpful tips that your community group should consider before you start to deliver Green Social Prescribing:

1 | Consider your use of language

Some words or phrases can be upsetting or triggering to different people. It’s worth familiarising your team and volunteers with some key definitions. Language constantly changes so stay up to date by researching online or joining a local EDI network

Avoid: “Fix you” “Your problems” “Patient”

Use: “Participant” “Wellbeing”

Remember: you’re not a mental health professional, it’s not your place to provide medical advice. If you feel people are asking you for this, explain politely that you’re not qualified and they should refer to Manchester Mind’s A-Z directory for more suitable support.

Whilst we have provided some examples of words to avoid and words to use, it is worth noting that there is no universal list of accepted language. Language constantly changes and every individual is different. The most important thing you can do is respect the individual’s choice and provide a safe space where individuals can speak up if they would prefer a different term to be used.

2 | Create a safe and welcoming environment

It’s very important to be welcoming/have time for people – you may need to have extra staff or volunteers who can dedicate their time to meeting new participants. Consider that people may be nervous, so a smile and a warm welcome may be in order. A tour of where they will be for the activity and, most importantly, the participants being able to help themselves to tea and coffee. You may want to create a welcome pack that you provide straight away or in advance so people know what to expect.

The space that you are delivering the activity in should be safe too. Make sure that there are clear exits, a space for individuals to retreat to should they need some space and that the venue feels safe and secure from members of the general public.

3 | Practise active listening

Active listening is the act of fully concentrating on what is being said, by observing both verbal and non-verbal messages and providing appropriate responses based on what was just said.

Here are some tips on how to be an active listener:

  • Face the speaker
  • Make eye contact
  • Ask questions
  • “Listen” to non-verbal clues
  • Don’t interrupt and let them finish in their own time
  • Don’t jump to conclusions

4 | Understanding people’s needs

It’s important that staff and volunteers are able to foster good relations with participants. For some people this comes easy, but for others they can struggle to know what to say or how best to support someone who maybe struggling with their health.

Check out our resource on ‘The Welcoming Experience’ for tips and advice on conversation starters.