Website launches to bring Joy to people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

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Joy, a free health and wellbeing support website, is set to be launched this Easter (Friday 29 March) to support people living and working in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland (LLR).  Funded by the local NHS, Joy combines services provided by the NHS, local authorities, and the voluntary and community sector all in one place. 

Joy will offer a diverse range of categories tailored to meet individuals’ needs. From fitness and art classes to carer support, diabetes self-help groups, food banks, counselling, and Age UK services, the exciting new website will provide a comprehensive array of services. These services are designed to bolster the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, setting Joy apart as a unique and engaging non-clinical health and wellbeing support service.

Rachna Vyas, Chief Operating Officer at the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Joy website today, bringing together local support, in a single place, at the touch of a button.

“We particularly want to make it easier for people with the most need to find better help, whether it’s support for their mental health, wanting to be more physically active, or just finding support groups close to where they live. Our ambition is that Joy becomes a way that everybody connects, resulting in better mental health and wellbeing across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland.”

The Joy website operates on the concept of ‘social prescribing,’ a method that connects  people to a variety of local activities, groups and services in their community to meet their practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing.  This approach is an effective and holistic way of addressing people’s needs, acknowledging that their health and wellbeing are largely influenced by social, economic, and environmental factors. By adopting social prescribing, Joy aims to provide a more comprehensive and effective support system for the community.

As part of the website’s launch, GP practices across LLR have also been connected to Joy, making it easier and more effective for them to socially prescribe.

Dr Leslie Borrill, a GP partner at Bridge Street Medical Practice (BSMP), Clinical Director of Carillon PCN and Charnwood GP Network, said: “It is fantastic that GP practices are now connected to Joy ahead of this launch. It will transform how GPs and our wider team will ensure our patients receive the best care and support when they visit our surgeries.”

Social prescribing has gained significant traction in recent years. Approximately 20% of patients consult their GP primarily for social issues, and loneliness is a growing social issue. In the UK, 49.63% of adults (25.99 million people) reported feeling lonely occasionally, sometimes, often or always (2022). People experiencing loneliness visit their GP more often and have associated health issues such as depression, anxiety, and poor cardiovascular health (University of Sheffield, 2021).

Joy is a free website for everyone to use and will be available at: just follow the link, add your postcode and start searching for local services.

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