A NEW £600,000 fund for Keighley will help community groups and social enterprises get involved in a healthcare revolution.

Local organisations can apply for cash which will enable them take part in ‘social prescribing’ alongside GP surgeries.

The scheme enables doctors to prescribe non-medical treatments for people facing challenges such as isolation, mental ill-health or the need to get more active.

Instead of medicines or surgery, doctors put such patients in touch with groups running practical activities such as art classes, gardening, cooking, dance classes, volunteering or singing. They may also be given debt or welfare advice.

The Keighley Community Health Grants scheme will run for three years, and £190,000 is on offer this year alone to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

The hope is that over three years the scheme will help build up a strong infrastructure for community health in Keighley.

Holycroft Surgery GP Dr Tom Ratcliffe, said: “This is a brilliant new fund for community groups and businesses in Keighley to deliver healthy activities and link to local health initiatives!

“We want Keighley to be a healthier town. The fund has been made possible by local GP surgeries and the health and social care system matching resources closely with the voluntary and charitable sector.”

The grant scheme has been created by GiveBradford and Power to Change, a charitable trust, with involvement from the Modality Partnership – which involves several Keighley GP surgeries – and Airedale Community Partnership.

Susie Finlayson, of Power to Change, said: “Health is influenced by a wide range of social, economic and environmental factors, and social prescribing allows medical professionals to signpost patients to incredibly effective services in their community which can make a huge difference to their lives.

“We believe that community-based organisations are well placed for this work. Across the country the NHS is rolling out social prescribing and we are keen to support the creation of a thriving community response to the social determinants of health.”

Interested groups are being invited to a briefing event at Central Hall, Alice Street, Keighley, on January 31 from 1pm to 3pm. Visit givebradford.org.uk for further information and to register.