Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.

Adult social care and support

If you need care and support, there are a number of organisations that may be able to help you.
Sunderland Community Hub contains information about services and activities for adults, older people and their carers.
To be able to receive any care and support from us you need to meet the national minimum eligibility criteria.
If you need social care help from us, we’ll ask you some questions about your day-to-day life to work out what you need, we call this an assessment.

You can call us on 0191 520 5552.  Our team is available 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Protecting your health

Whatever your age, protecting your own and your family’s health should be a priority for you.
Are you taking advantage of the wide range of screening and health checks that are available to you on the NHS? These can help you find out if you are at risk from cervical, breast or bowel cancer, alcohol or smoking related illnesses and more.
Have you and your children received the correct immunisations? Are you and your family protected against flu and is your newborn or pre-school child up to date with their immunisations?

If you or a relative is elderly, do you know what you can do to stay safe in the winter, prevent falls, and manage your money so heating bills remain affordable?

Finally, are you aware of the risks of everyday issues like protecting yourself from the sun, and preventing accidents at home and at work?

In Sunderland;

People between the ages of 40 and 74 who haven’t already been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or dementia, are eligible for a free NHS Health Check every five years which can help you prevent these illnesses.

Screening is a way of finding out if people are at higher risk of a health problem so that early treatment can be offered or information given to help them make informed decisions.

Looking after yourself

When it comes to looking after your own and your family’s health do you know where the risks lie and what changes you could make to your lifestyle to minimise them?

There are a range of services, information and support available to help you look after your health and wellbeing. These include:

Children and young people

Sunderland City Council commissions a range of services to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

  • Healthy Start Vitamins are available for mams and children across the city and those who are registered with the Healthy Start Programme can get them free
  • Health Visitors work with and support families during the first 5 years of a child’s life and school nurses promote healthy lifestyles to children age 5-19 and their families.
  • The Family Nurse Programme is offered to young parents who are having their first baby.
  • A range of sexual health services are available for young people age 13 years and over
  • Sunderland Youth Drug and Alcohol Project (YDAP) is available for young people aged 10-18 who require specialist advice and support relating to drugs or alcohol.
  • The Lifestyle, activity and food programme (LAF) is a weight management programme for children and families.
  • Breastfeeding mams are supported through Sunderland Bosom Buddies.

Drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol can have a major impact on the health and lives of people who use them, as well as on their family, friends, work colleagues and the community as a whole.

While drinking some alcohol responsibly is generally considered to be fine, excessive use and binge drinking are responsible for a growing number of health related problems in the UK.

The latest guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer recommend that men and women do not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

Regular drinking more than this can increase health risks.

In Sunderland…

The Live Life Well Service provides practical advice and support to help you cut down on your drinking.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol, Wear Recovery -Sunderland Integrated Drug and Alcohol Service can help. You can contact the service directly or ask a GP or another professional to do it for you.

Sunderland’s Youth Drug and Alcohol Project (YDAP) is available for young people aged 10-18 who require specialist advice and support relating to drugs or alcohol.

Sexual health

Good sexual health is an important element of health and wellbeing.

It means being happy with your own choices and knowing that there are a number of potential risks, such as unplanned pregnancy, HIV and a range of sexually transmitted diseases.

A healthy attitude to sex also means being aware that the legal age of consent for both heterosexual and homosexual relationships is 16, understanding what safe sex means, being familiar with different types of contraception, including emergency contraception, and taking precautions against the risks.

For younger people, good sexual wellbeing involves knowing how relationships develop, knowing when you are ready to have sex, knowing when to say ‘no’, and understanding the dangers of meeting people and dating online.

Most of all, it is important to know that lots of advice, support, help and information is available in person and online whenever you need it.

Free and confidential sexual health services are available across Sunderland.

CASH – This contraception and sexual health service offers advice and support on all types of contraception. Testing is also available for the most common sexual infections.

C Card – If you’re aged between 13 and 24 you can get confidential sexual health advice and free condoms through the C-Card scheme.

GUM – The Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) service is open to everyone from the age of 13. The service provides the full range of secual infection screening and treats all sexual infections free of charge.

Live Life Well Service can give you advice and information on secual health and STI testing

Check your bits can give you free, confidential chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests for anyone aged 15-24

Long acting reversble contraception and emergency hormonal contraception is available at various GP’s and pharmacies in the city find out more at Live Life Well.

Sunderland City Council is reviewing the sexual health services it commissions in Sunderland to make sure they are meeting the needs of people in the city.

Emotional wellbeing

Feeling good mentally is just as important as feeling good physically. Emotional health plays a huge role in how we all think, feel and behave.

Poor emotional health and wellbeing can lead to stress, anxiety and depression and panic attacks, and can make it difficult for you to feel positive about your daily life and maintain good relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

Having access to advice about your emotional health can be valuable, and many people find that talking their problems over with someone is extremely helpful.

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year.

The website Wellbeing information  has advice and information to help you look after your mental wellbeing.

A Life Worth Living half day training sessions are available for people living, working and volunteering in Sunderland who wish to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence with regard to suicide prevention.

Emotional health and resilience training is also available to anyone who lives, works or volunteers in the city through the Sunderland Health Champions Programme

If you would like further information, you may find the links below useful:

Time to change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.

Five ways to wellbeing gives you the give steps you need to take to improve your emotional wellbeing

NHS choices gives you practical advice and useful information to support you on your way to feeling better.

Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.



A-Z of sports and activities

A list of the sport and physical activities available in Sunderland.













Table Tennis



Walk Leaders

What are Housing Benefits and Council Tax Support

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is help towards paying your rent.

If you live in privately-rented accommodation Local Housing Allowance (LHA) may be used to calculate your entitlement to Housing Benefit

If you rent from a Housing Association the amount of Housing Benefit you get may be affected by the under-occupancy charge.

What is Council Tax Support?

Council Tax Support is help towards paying your council tax

Sunderland’s Council Tax Support scheme has been developed in line with the guidance from Central Government.

You can claim Council Tax Support if you or your partner pay Council Tax for your property. Any award of Council Tax Support will be deducted from your Council Tax bill.

Benefit entitlement

Information about benefits and tax credits if you are working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person, an older person or a veteran.

Debt and Money Advice

Everyone with even a little bit of debt has to manage their debt. You have keep up your payments and make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

On the other hand when you have too much too much debt, you have to put more effort into paying off your debt while juggling payments on the debts you’re not paying right now.

Basic steps to managing your debt

  1. Know who and how much you owe
  2. Create a monthly budget and bill payment calendar
  3. Make sure you pay your priority payments eg rent/mortgage, council tax , fuel etc
  4. Use a monthly budget to plan your other expenses
  5. Pay your bills on time each month
  6. Make at least the minimum payment
  7. Decide which debts to pay off first
  8. Try to save a little/ have an emergency fund to fall back on
  9. Use a monthly budget to plan your expenses
  10. Recognize the signs that you need help if you are finding it hard to pay your debt and other bills each month

If you are struggling then the first step is to Face facts, be honest about the size of the problem and seek help

Mortgage arrears

If you’re struggling with your mortgage repayments and can’t get back on track – or are worried about losing your home, the temptation may be to ignore the problem.
Don’t, speak to the Money Advice Service to find out what you can do and where you can find help.

Rent arrears

If you cannot pay your rent, don’t ignore the problem. Talk to your landlord as soon as possible.
Whether the problem is caused by a change of circumstances, a budgeting difficulty, or a cut in benefits, you can take some important steps you can take to help get yourself back in control and avoid eviction.
Money Advice Service can give you advice about rent arrears.


  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Saturday, 9am to 1pm Sunday and Bank Holidays, closed.

Homelessness advice – prevention

There are many ways you can prevent yourself from becoming homeless such as:

  • served notice by landlord – always speak to your landlord in the first instance, following this you can seek independent legal advice
  • mortgage arrears – Speak to your mortgage company to see if you can come to an agreement, if that fails seek independent legal advice
  • asked to leave by family/friend – mediate with family members to see if you can remain while you look for alternative accommodation
  • issues with repairs – speak to landlord/agent, failing this report lack of repairs to our housing renewals team.
  • affordability – if you think you can no longer afford your accommodation go online to check if you are entitled to any benefits. You can apply for housing benefit and other benefits online
  • Homeless due to domestic violence
  • homeless in an emergency (i.e. fire/flood) – speak to your landlord in the first instance as they may have alternative property available or be able to arrange interim accommodation as this may be covered by the Landlord’s insurance
  • should you wish to seek alternative accommodation

We would recommend the first step is to speak directly with your landlord.

If you are in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit you can apply for help through the local welfare provision for the following:

If you are unable to resolve the situation and are under threat of becoming homeless please contact our Home and money team 0191 520 5551





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