What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is about connecting young people to groups, activities and opportunities within their local community to promote positive health and wellbeing 

This could include:  

  • Joining a youth group or sport club 
  • Finding a new interest or hobby 
  • Volunteering  
  • Information and advice 
  • Accessing other services and tools  

Before we started our service, we spoke to lots of young people about our plans.  

They told us they did not like the term ‘social prescribing’ because it sounded like someone was telling them what they needed rather than listening to them, getting to know them and working together to come up with a wellbeing plan.  

They liked the idea of being connected to activities in their local community and connecting with other people.  

This is why we chose the name Community Connections to better explain how we can help. 

Who are we?

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have received funding from NHS Health Charities Together to run a social prescribing pilot within Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health services for children and young people.

This pilot service is for young people aged 11-18 years old who are facing low level challenges to their emotional wellbeing. 

The project is an opportunity to test out whether a social prescribing service is useful for young people referred to Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health, and whether it has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing. 

We have named our service Community Connections in response to feedback from young people. 

What is a Community Connector?

A Community Connector is a person who works with young people to help them identify their goals, develop a wellbeing plan, and access opportunities in their community.

A Community Connector: 

  • Prioritises your needs, values, experiences & opinions
  • Focuses on ‘what matters’ to you 
  • Builds a relationship and works together with you to identify your goals  
  • Has a good knowledge of local services, groups and activities that promote wellbeing
  • Checks in regularly with you to ensure you are accessing activities and support that work for you

Here are Sara, Lily and Lauren – our lovely Community Connectors!

How does the service work?

If you are accepted to the service, your Community Connector will contact you for a conversation and to arrange a time to meet.

This could be at school, in your home or out in the community (for example, at a café or park) – wherever you feel comfortable and safe! 

When we meet, we will talk and get to know you, including what’s going on for you at the moment. Some of the things we might talk about could include: 

  • What you like doing 
  • Anything we can help with 
  • How you are feeling 
  • Things you would like to work on – your goals  
  • Any challenges you might be facing 

Based on our conversation, we will work with you to design a wellbeing plan. This will be unique to you. It could include connecting you to groups and activities in your local area. If you’d like, we could come along with you or help you to get there. 

We will work together for up to three months. We will start meeting once a week, and after this will speak with you about how often you would like to meet.   

What do young people think so far?

We spent several weeks visiting youth groups and using an online engagement platform to hear the views of young people.

We were interested in:

  • what they already knew about social prescribing
  • what they thought of the idea
  • how we can run the service to meet the needs of young people

We wrote a report on this in December 2022 (you can download this below).

How can I get involved?

We will continue listening to young people as we develop our serivce – this is very important for a service centered around young people.

Feedback from young people will help us to provide the best service possible to meet young people’s needs.

The online engagement platform will remain active throughout the project.

We plan on:

  • Asking new questions
  • Linking the platform to our social media to increase the volume of responses

We would love to hear what you think – whether you are accessing our service or just interested in ways to look after your wellbeing!

There are a range of activities that you can get involved with – most of them will only take 2-3 minutes.

We really appreciate any feedback that you are willing to share with us.

Wellbeing journal

We have developed a wellbeing journal.

It has has been designed to be an extension of the time you spend with your Community Connector.

We hope you find it a useful tool for you to reflect on your wellbeing journey.

When we work with you, we will ask if you would rather use a physical copy or a digital copy. You can download the digital copy below.

Though we designed this for young people accessing Community Connections, we encourage anyone who wants to take action to improve their wellbeing to have a look at the information and resources available.

Let us know what you think here.

Groups and organistions

If you are interested in starting something new or connecting with your community more, below we have linked some groups and organisations that might be a good place for you to start.


Taking part in something creative can be a great way to relax and learn a new skill.

They are a community-rooted, youth-led collective nurturing tomorrow’s creative voices. They mostly work with young people from marginalised communities.

The activities are mostly hip hop rooted and they lead other creative activities as well.

The Welsh Millennium Centre offer lots of different arts-based activities to 11 -25 year olds. These include hip hop dance, creative voice courses, youth theatre music groups and many more.

Sherman Theatre offer playwriting groups for 15–18-year-olds and a weekly Youth Theatre programme for 8- to 18-year-olds.

Drama sessions held at Chapter Arts Centre for young people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Inclusive youth theatre group for 8-11- and 12-16-year-olds.

Sessions are in BST and interpreters are also able to attend.

Contemporary music class for 7-18 year olds based in Fairwater. Group lessons in bass guitar, drums and vocals.

Mental health groups

If you’re struggling with your mental health, or just want to learn more about how to cope there are support groups available.

Creative workshops for those aged between 11-25 using a range of activities to help promote resilience and positive wellbeing.

Youth Cymru run a range of programmes throughout the year so please see the link below for updated programmes.

Sports & fitness

Sports teams and activities can be a fun way to meet new people, get some physical activity in and boost wellbeing.

Gyms and swimming pools in different leisure centres across Cardiff and the Vale. They offer a discounted youth membership and have free swimming lanes for U16s to book onto during school holidays.

To book on and find specific times visit the website for a leisure centre that’s local to you!

Cardiff City FC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks sessions provide young people between the ages of 11-19 with access to free football games and small-sided matches in a safe environment.

Bluebirds Ability is a disability football programme that improves wellbeing, develops confidence and increases social interaction. Different groups for primary, junior and senior.

Linked to Vale Sport and Play – they offer different clubs for young people. Including dance, cricket, karate, football, gymnastics, tennis.

Cardiff City Community Table Tennis Club is Wales’ only dedicated table tennis centre. The club extends a warm welcome to players of all abilities and levels of experience. Newcomers to the sport can have as much access to our tables as the pros, and can also access individual or group coaching from our friendly team of top-quality coaches.

Boxing classes from 6-9- and 10–16-year-olds on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday after school. Membership and insurance need to be purchased prior to attending a class.

Session for young people with ADHD every other Saturday morning – contact for more info/to book on Home | Llanrumneyphoenixabc (gemmaprice30.wixsite.com)

Based at the YMCA Hub, Barry our community dance studio programme aims to break down barriers and create positive attributes for life for all our members. Here is our specially designed weekly dance programme that we provide to the Vale of Glamorgan community.  There is a class for everyone to participate in and enjoy the benefits of dance

On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior park runs for children aged four to 14. Can walk, run, volunteer and spectate. Work with community and meet others.

They are charity based in Cardiff that encourages and enables children and adults of all ages and abilities to experience the benefits of cycling. We strive to remove the barriers to cycling that many people face and work to a key set of values.

Offers cycling support and classes.

They have a range of inclusive and modified bicycles and tricycles.

Under 16’s can access free swimming lessons in Llanishen, Fairwater, Maindy, Splott STAR & Eastern Leisure Centres.

Weekends and weekdays during school holidays.

Visit any of the Better Leisure centre websites for more information/to book

Boxing lessons in Butetown for children, young people and adults. They also organise community events (e.g., computer skills for youth) and offer 1:1 mentoring for young people.

Email or ring to book into a class: www.tigerbayabc.com

Youth groups and services

Youth groups are a great way to meet other people with similar interests to you and to try out new activities.

The new club is a joint project between Barry RFC, the Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales.

Contact: The club runs on Wednesdays from 6.30-8pm. Anyone interested in joining can either contact Reservoir Youth leader Ben McCarthy at ben.mccarthy@cardiffrugby.wales, or simply turn up on the night.

Cardiff Youth Service are part of Cardiff Council’s Education department. They work with young people aged 11-25 to develop personalsocial and educational development through a variety of opportunities.

Urdd provides opportunities through the medium of Welsh for children and young people in Wales to enable them to make positive contributions to their communities.

They focus many of our youth activities at young people with ALN (additional learning needs), whilst other youth sessions are open access. Youth members are encouraged to take part in an array of activities including: arts & craft, sport, games, and dance.

Groups include: Embassy Youth Club, Inclusive Youth Club, IMPACT

Youth club for 11-25 year olds. Organised activities including Cooking. Part of the CAER Heritage Project.

Youth club for 11+ with organised activities that include cooking, crafts, sports, careers advice, and games. They are held on Tuesdays and Friday from 6-8:30 at the Wyndham Street Centre.

Organisation for ages 12-18 helping them to develop leadership skills and making strong connections with the wider community.

Open 3-9pm every day for 11-18 year olds looking for mental health support, wellbeing groups, creative groups or volunteering.

They run a number of different services including youth clubs, DofE, accredited courses, sports, community events, mentoring etc.

Other groups

There are groups out there for all kinds of interests and identities – here are some ideas to get you started. 

Workshops and youth groups for young people aged 12-25 who are trans, non-binary or exploring their gender.

DPIA’s Children and Young Persons Project is funded by BBC Children in Need. The project delivers a weekly programme of groups and activities for refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people who are under the age of 18 years

Grassroots runs a regular Young Parents Group every Tues 1-3pm. Offering advice, support, basic skills, along with working in Partnership with other local services. We also run activities, workshops and trips for Young Parents.

They also run a group for 14–25-year-olds with ASD, young person led. Run different events including games, music, photoshop, art, animation, cooking, photography classes.

We’re a social enterprise offering practical, creative, and inclusive opportunities for individuals and communities to explore solutions and take action on the climate and ecological emergency.

They have the Railways Gardens Splott/Adamsdown for community gardening. Also has a fix it shop, groups for younger children and free/low cost workshops.

A 52-week LGBTQ+ youth group. A friendly and safe environment which allows you to become friends with like-minded people, while socialising, playing sports, doing arts & crafts, taking part in workshops and sometimes trips out and residentials. This group is mainly aimed towards 13–21-year-olds.

Open to care experienced children aged 11-25 who are involved with Cardiff Children’s Services. Meet other care experienced children, take part in activities.

Scouts (10 ½ – 14 years) and Explorers (14-18 years) provide a safe space for young people to learn new skills, try new activities and explore new learning.

Young people can tailor their experience to their interests, gaining badges for each new skill they learn and having the chance to go on overnight stays.

Umbrella Allies is a friendly, safe and supportive space which allows young people ages 12-18 who identify as LGBTQIA+ (and allies) to meet like-minded people.

They meet every Friday from 18:15 until 20:45 at Eastmoors Youth Centre, Sanquhar Street CF24 2AD.

The ‘Time 4 Me’ project provides support and a break for Young Carers; a chance to meet other Young Carers; make new friends & have some fun across Cardiff and the Vale!

Young Carers are children & young people 7 to 18 years old who help care for a family member who lives with them

Frequently Asked Questions

Our service is brand new – so we know you may have some questions about how it works.

We have included some frequently asked questions below.

If you have any more, Contact Us and we will do our best to get back to you with an answer.

General information

Social prescribing is all about connecting young people to groups, activities and opportunities within their local community to promote positive health and wellbeing. 

This could include:

  • Joining a youth group or sport club
  • Finding a new interest or hobby
  • Engaging in volunteering projects
  • Information and advice
  • Accessing other services and tools 

This service in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan is called Community Connections and is led by Community Connectors.

A Community Connector is a person who works with young people to help them identify their goals, develop a wellbeing plan, and access opportunities in their community. 

A Community Connector:

  • Prioritises your needs, values, experiences and opinions
  • Focuses on ‘what matters’ to you
  • Builds a relationship and works together with you to identify your goals
  • Has a good knowledge of local services, groups and activities that promote   wellbeing
  • Checks back with you to ensure you are accessing activities and support that works for you 

Our service is for 11 to 18-year olds who are experiencing low-level challenges to their emotional wellbeing.   


This could include social isolation, low-level anxiety, bullying or lack of self-esteem.  


We do not meet with any young person who is experiencing more complex or severe mental health issues.  

A professional that you trust will need to make a request for support to the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Single Point of Access (SPOA). Requests for support need to come via a health or social care professional, such as a GP or school nurse.

You will need to have a conversation with them about what’s going on for you and mention that you would like to try social prescribing. You can then ask for them to make a request for support to the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health department. 


The request for support will go directly to the SPOA team, they will look at the information provided and help decide what might be most beneficial to you. It is more likely for the request for support to reach Community Connections if social prescribing is mentioned within it!  


Please note: We are a very small team and it might not always be possible for us to accept every request for support due to time and staffing constraints.  


However, even if we don’t work directly together, there may be other options available to you within Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health or other services. We will do our best to help you identify and access these options.  

At moment we are only taking requests for support via the Single Point of Access (SPOA). If the young person is struggling with their emotional wellbeing, you can encourage them to talk to their GP or school nurse and they can make a request for support to SPOA. 

Please note: We offer low level emotional wellbeing support and it might not always be possible for us to accept every request for support. We will work together with young people after considering how our service best meets their needs, and our capacity. 

However, even if we don’t work directly together, there may be other options available to you within Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health or other services.

Accessing the service

When it suits you! You can meet with a Community Connector at a time that works best for you.

This could be during school hours, after school or online. Your Community Connector will contact you to discuss when this might be and will do their best to find a time that suits you.  


If you are unable to meet as agreed, please let your Community Connector know as soon as possible. If when you want to meet changes at any point, you can talk to your Community Connector to arrange a new plan together.

Similarly, your Community Connector will always let you know if they can no longer meet with you as planned.

Wherever works best for you! Your Community Connector will discuss with you to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe.

This could be at your school or college, at home or somewhere in the community such as a café or park. 

If you are unable to meet as agreed, please let your Community Connector know as soon as possible If where you want to meet changes at any point, just talk to your Community Connector and together you will arrange a new plan.

Similarly, your Community Connector will always let you know if they can no longer meet with you as planned.

You will meet with a Community Connector over 12 weeks. These meetings will start weekly and could change to biweekly, depending on what works best for you.  

Each meeting will be around 1 hour long.

Yes absolutely! If it would help make you feel comfortable you can invite someone who you feel safe with, such as a parent, guardian or friend.  They can join us for as many sessions as you want. 

Similarly, if you do not want anyone to come with you, that is also fine! As long as you have permission from your legal guardian/parent to meet with us. 

This is a voluntary service. This means that if you do not want to meet with a Community Connector anymore, you do not have to!

If this was the case, we would have a conversation together to see if there’s anything we can change about our meetings to help them benefit you, and so that you feel more comfortable and safe.

However, if you feel you have reached the end of your social prescribing journey, then there is no pressure to stay! You can still continue to be a part of your community and access the same activities/groups without a Community Connector working alongside you.

Our service is about empowering young people to look after their own wellbeing in their local area. We work together with you for 12 weeks to get to know you, work together on a plan that meets your needs then continue to check in with you to make sure everything is going ok for you. Feeling more independent and ready to move on from Community Connections is a positive sign! 

Alternatively, if things have changed for you and you think you need specialist mental health support, we will also have a conversation with you and then our colleagues to see what would work best for you.