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Alvanley Family Practice in Stockport

Alvanley Family Practice is an award-winning, person-centred, evidence-based family practice, located in Woodley, Greater Manchester. Their collaborative and forward-thinking social prescribing methodology has gained international recognition amongst healthcare professionals and is being dubbed 'The Alvanley Way'.

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Alvanley Family Practice's philosophy takes a strengths-based approach to healthcare and wellness. ‘Rather than asking what's the matter with our patients, we ask what matters to them.’

Some of their existing initiatives include a practice allotment, community walks, parent pram pushers, and a patient sing-along group. Through funding from the local public health team, Alvanley Family Practice developed a volunteer programme of practice health champions. Led by practice manager, Kay Keane the practice builds on what the community has to offer to support those who are lonely and isolated as an alternative to an appointment with GPs. 

Kay called on Altogether Better, an organisation that supports practices to implement a model of community-centred practice, co-produced between the practice and members of the community. While they had no specific training, the 17 volunteer health champions bring a variety of life skills to the challenge. For example, two musicians run singalong sessions in a local community café: ‘standing room only,’ says Dave Chorlton, chair of the practice’s health champions. A keen fitness enthusiast set up lunchtime walks, where patients are as likely to walk with GPs and staff from the practice as other patients, while Dave, a former print designer, designed a wellbeing prescription which, looks similar to a regular prescription but has a range of tick boxes for activities that a GP, nurse, receptionist or any other member of the team or community can refer a patient to. The prescription, with the patient’s permission, includes their contact details, which gives the practice health champions the authority to make contact. 

Acquiring a derelict allotment from the local council has proved a success in terms of engaging community spirit and wellbeing. One of the practice’s patients, a local builder, helped to clear the site and created beds, with raised beds for easier access for those with disabilities. He supplied some flagstones, giving his own apprentices an opportunity to learn how to block pave. The health champions group has since acquired funding to build the facility at the site, where patients, with the support of a volunteer from the local community café, can cook and then can sit down together to eat.


Kay Keane, Alvanley Family Practice Manager, email: [email protected]