Tom Watkins - East of England Regional Lead Thriving Communities Programme
Tom leads the Thriving Communities programme in the East of England. We have a regional offer aimed at helping anyone that is interested in developing Social Prescribing, to share learning, ideas and best practise especially our vibrant voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector. As a former Link Worker Tom brings almost a decade of experience in Social Prescribing to the programme. He's passionate about supporting our community ecosystem and enabling grassroots organisations to be well placed to attract funding opportunities. Relationships are very important to Tom, who ensures the programme is committed to developing lasting partnerships, creating a stronger sector for social prescribing to take root, enabling communities to thrive. Tom works with social prescribing leaders and organisations delivering social prescribing in their local communities across the East of England to maximise the delivery of care that matters for each person. Outside of Communities 1st Tom is an active volunteer, a presenter on local radio and a regular performer in a local history walk. He also coaches Gymnastics and is a trained actor.
Tara Mataba - Thriving Communities Partnerships and Inclusion Coordinator
Tara is a relatively new member of the regional team and took on the role of Thriving Communities Partnerships & Inclusion Coordinator at Communities 1st in December 2021. Previously she worked for an International Partner College at the University of Hertfordshire.
From collaborating with organisations such as the Hertfordshire Black Diaspora, Mind UK and Amnesty International, Tara aims to use her innovation, drive and determination to advocate for positive change. As the Thriving Communities Partnerships & Inclusion Co-ordinator, Tara aims to increase the profile of social prescribing and promote the benefits of the Learning Together Programme by using her creativity and generating an online social presence.
Kimberly White - Regional Physical Activity Social Prescribing Lead in the East of England
Kimberly White works as the Regional Physical Activity Social Prescribing Lead in the East of England. Her aim to facilitate creativity, share learning and work more collaboratively across social prescribing and the wider network of health.
By providing leadership and building critical relationships across our region, Kimberly will focus on supporting and enabling the VCFSE to integrate and enhance physical activity provision as a core pillar of the work to support individuals’ health and wellbeing in response to the unique makeup of the region. The Sport England strategy, Uniting the Movement, highlights an ambition to better connect with health and wellbeing including building a stronger relationship with the health system to meaningfully integrate physical activity. The strategy specifically references social prescribing as a key mechanism to achieve this. Her aim is to enable and support the inclusion of high-quality physical activity within social prescribing systems, ensuring that all activities are person-centred, accessible, inclusive and supportive to all. To achieve this, she will need to broker and build partnerships and collaboration across a range of sectors and provide a national voice to influence and advocate for the role of physical activity as a central pillar to our collective vision of healthy, happy and connected communities.
Alan Nicholls - Money & Pensions Service Regional Partnership Manager
Alan has extensive experience in the financial sector, having worked at Lloyds Banking Group for 14 years influencing their financial inclusion, financial education, credit union and University multi-brand strategies. To contact, Alan, please visit the Money and Pensions Services webpage.
Giles Merritt - Regional Health and Environment Lead for the East of England
Green social prescribing is a new area of work for Natural England (NE) and Giles is excited to be working closely with the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP), and other partners to make a real difference to people’s lives and share the benefits and joys of the natural world with them.
There are three main aims of his work at Natural England and this includes:
- Continue to support and grow green social prescribing (GSP) so that opportunities to access the health benefits of nature can be increased across the east of England.
- Expand the role that GSP plays in addressing inequalities.
- Link up with other areas of work we, and other partners are doing to help the natural world recover, whilst benefitting people’s mental and physical health through nature.