Sustainable Fashion & Social Prescribing

Conscious Apparel model Holly Firth-Davies talks about her long time love of beautiful clothes, her ethos of sustainability and tells us about social prescribing – a new way of supporting health and wellbeing.

My desire for beautiful clothes started with the patterns and fabrics of my mother’s dresses in the 1950s – leading to a lifelong love of vintage. I hate waste, enjoy making new from old and have always been a conservationist.  I was thrilled to discover Conscious Apparel – their ethically sourced clothes are beautifully made and reusing fabrics fits well with my personal values of recycling and sustainability.

I recently retired from my role as a social prescribing link worker following a career in community work and advocacy – helping people get their voices heard.  I am a great believer in giving people the opportunity to achieve their potential and enable them to make their own decisions. I want to raise awareness of social prescribing as link workers support people whose health is affected by things that are not necessarily medical but that they might have seen their GP for help with. As social prescribers, we can take time to find out what matters to people and signpost them to sources of support in the community, helping to empower them to make decisions to improve their health and wellbeing.

Issues like stress (caused by difficulties at work, relationships, housing or financial pressures), living with long-term conditions, being a carer, lack of confidence, depression and loneliness can have very negative effect on health. Link workers can refer to a variety of support like health trainers, counselling, organisations for specific conditions, debt and housing advice, social groups and accessing green prescribing such as community gardens and other green spaces.

During Covid 19 mental health issues increased with some people having an escalation of symptoms and others a disintegration of their mental health for the first time. Older, isolated, people have missed face-to-face contact with befriending services and day clubs and link workers have connected them, and other housebound patients, with telephone support for regular contact and practical help. Services are beginning to open up again and I am happy that the last job of my working life was one that supported people to find ways to take control of their own wellbeing.  Social Prescribing can be accessed through GP surgeries and patients can self-refer.

We wish Holly all the very best for her retirement! What a wonderful career – helping people achieve their potential through being heard and helping them connect with others.

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