Social prescribing pioneer Brian Dickens has been nominated for a top award for championing a life changing health initiative. 

Brian who lives and works in Thornton Heath has built an amazing network of activities to keep local residents mentally and physically healthy. 

He has been chosen from almost 800 candidates to represent London in a competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

Brian, who is the practice manager at Parchmore Medical Centre, was nominated by local MP Steve Reed. He was selected for developing a “social prescribing programme” which gives GPs the chance to prescribe something non-medical like a fitness class or activity.

Both the programme and Brian have already won the London regional award for excellence in Primary Care. 

There are now eleven community hubs signed up to the programme including  many local churches in Thornton Heath.

They are offering thousands of sessions every month in  health and fitness, arts and dance, plus counselling, housing advice, welfare and support for those in serious debt or help accessing benefits and tax credits.

New programmes include yoga, urban golf, relaxation plus trips to the seaside. 

Mr Reed said: “He is a credit to his local community, to Croydon and to London. Brian is a true trailblazer; his work has not only improved the health and wellbeing of residents, he has broken down barriers and brought diverse communities together.”

He will go up against other regional winners from across the country at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on July 4 at the NHS Birthday Awards.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Croydon CCG’s clinical chair and a Parchmore GP, said: “Brian’s tireless efforts have made real long-term positive differences to the health of our patients and we are already building on his excellent work so that even more local people across Croydon can benefit.”