Some of the most vulnerable or socially isolated residents living in Breckland are to be given a prescription for a season’s worth of local football, as part of a partnership between the district council, football club and health professionals.

Dereham Town FC is donating 50 free season tickets which will be released to potentially isolated or lonely people living in Breckland via a team of Social Prescribers Link Workers based within mid-Norfolk’s GP surgeries. As well as attending local home games for free, the season ticket holders will also be eligible to attend regular social events, where they can forge new friendships and socialise.

The scheme is part of Breckland Council’s Inspiring Communities programme, which has seen more than £1 million funding ringfenced by the council to support some of the most vulnerable residents living within the district. The programme focuses on tackling social isolation, mental health support, and drug and people trafficking.

Through the programme, the team of Social Prescriber Link Workers, who are employed by Breckland Council, will be working within local GP surgeries to support isolated and lonely people and open doors to local support networks and opportunities which will help break the cycle of isolation in the community.

Cllr Alison Webb, Executive Member for Executive Member for Housing, Health & Communities at Breckland Council, commented: “We can see from the Euros and the Olympics that sport has a fantastic way of bringing people together in an exciting environment, breaking down barriers and forging friendships in the terraces. I’m so pleased that through our project and strong local partnerships we’ve been able to join forces to create unique support and opportunities for Breckland’s residents which could make such a huge difference to their lives.”

Ashley Bunn, Chairman of Dereham Town FC commented: “We are delighted to be sharing these season tickets with the Inspiring Communities programme, which we hope will encourage isolated people in our community to come along, enjoy a match and feel part of the football family here at Dereham FC. This season ticket offer will cover every home match, plus the chance to join in with others with a cuppa and cake once a month. Dereham Town FC is at the heart of the local community and we are truly delighted to be working again with Breckland Council on another community initiative which will make a big difference for so many people.”

Surgeries taking part in this innovative Inspiring Communities programme include Elmham, Toftwood, Mattishall, Shipdham, Theatre Royal, and Orchard Surgeries Dereham.

(Source: Breckland Council)