People living in Waltham Forest who have disabilities and low level mental health issues are set to benefit from a grant of £400,000.

The cash form the Health and Wellbeing Fund will also go towards helping carers and people over the age of 50 in the borough.

Waltham Forest’s social prescribing service will receive the money over a three-year period, after which it will be replaced by local funding.

As part of the service set up in 2016, health or social care professionals, including local GPs, can suggest to a person that they might benefit from social prescribing – which includes non-clinical services and support.

If they agree, a social prescriber will make contact to discuss the options available.

Services include benefits and debt advice, connections with befriending or volunteering schemes and assistance with a cold home or other housing issues.

Suna Panayiotou, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Waltham Forest, which is the lead partner for the extended programme, said: “We are very excited at the opportunity this funding brings and especially pleased to be working with other partners from the local community.

“All partners are already providing key help and support to local residents and we will draw on this expertise. This funding will ensure that we are helping more people and will enable us to assess the impact of our work.”

Dr Anwar Khan, a local GP and Chair of Waltham Forest CCG said the programme helps reduce the demand on core NHS services in the borough.

He added: “The social prescribing service gives GPs a single referral point where residents can get help with non-medical issues and get the support they need.

“It prevents the ‘medicalisation’ of social issues and allows patients to access the right services for their needs.”

Cllr Naheed Asghar, chairman of the Waltham Forest health and wellbeing board, said Waltham Forest Council is “excited about the opportunities this new funding provides” to extend the existing service.