New service aims to bring together the voluntary community sector (VCS) in the East Riding by creating the resources they need to thrive.

Six months ago the HEY Smile Foundation (Smile) took on the challenge of providing the VCS contract for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC). This tender was a successful partnership bringing together Smile with Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Mind.

Smile has a 10-year history of bringing good intentions to life across the region by giving a voice to and strengthening the voluntary community sector. CEO, Andrew Barber, said:

“We’re delighted to establish the Smile Hive in the East Riding to support a range of organisations and ultimately celebrate the difference the voluntary sector is making within our communities.”

The Smile Hive will deliver a variety of work ranging from volunteering, to digital resources, which will give the sector tools to create further efficiency, resilience, shared working and greater sustainability.

Part of the new contract will see the Smile Hive, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Mind working together to improve the Health and Wellbeing of Adults within the local communities.

This will be done via social prescribing, which is where healthcare professionals, such as GPs and nurses refer people to non-clinical services. This can involve linking up with activities typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example: arts, gardening and sports.

Natalie Belt is the Service Manager for social prescribing across the East Riding and explains:

“80% of GP appointments also have a non-medical related element, for example, loneliness, or unhappiness.”

“We firmly believe solutions are within our communities and work closely with GP practices via our Link Workers to offer holistic referrals.”

ERYCs Sports, Play and Arts team are working hard to build community links in social prescribing. They’re establishing new activities to combat a range of adult health and wellbeing needs, including loneliness and isolation and work closely with social prescribing Link Workers and Connectors.

To help explore how you could improve the health and wellbeing of your community and be part of the East Riding social prescribing model, voluntary groups are being encouraged to apply for a Building Community Health Grant. There are three different levels of grants available ranging from £500 to £3000.

Grants are designed to support community-led solutions to improve health and wellbeing of over 18s. Applications could range from bringing people together to sharing experiences and knowledge, or improving the self-management of a long-term, or complex condition.

Brian Pickles, Development and Implementation Lead for Asset Based Community Development at ERYC recently emphasised the need to develop a social prescribing model that builds what’s strong in the communities:

“We need to focus on what’s strong, not what’s wrong, to improve and build residents’ health and wellbeing.

Charities and voluntary groups across East Riding are invited to join the Smile Hive, which is a free resource, where they can access a range of support and find out more about applying for a Building Community Health Grant. To join, please email:


Phone: 01482 806226