The Community Link Worker (CLW) Project is a service delivered by Support in Mind Scotland which began in late 2021.

The service is a joint initiative between Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS), NHS Highland, and the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The focus of the project is to improve health outcomes for people those experiencing poor mental health and living in high deprivation areas.

What we do

The CLW Project is a social prescribing service working with 29 GP surgeries across the Highlands, from Caithness, to Lochaber, and over to Nairn.

When a GP feels a patient’s issues or concerns are due to social factors as opposed to medical factors, they can refer their patient to the Community Link Worker (CLW) based in their practice. The CLW will then contact the patient to set up a meeting.

In this meeting, the CLW will get to know the patient. They will discuss with them what their concerns are and how best the CLW could help. They will also ask about the patient’s interests and their likes and dislikes. Building this relationship with the patient will give them the knowledge they need to make appropriate self referrals.

The type of referrals the CLW makes will depend entirely on the patient. For example, if the patient highlights a concern about money, the CLW will refer the patient to money advice services in their local area and sometimes nationwide. If the patient has concerns about their fitness, they may suggest a walking group or exercise class. The project is entirely person-centred in its approach, so each referral will be made based on issues highlighted by the individual.

The patient will have several meetings with their CLW. Together they will work on the Wellbeing Outcomes Star – a well know evidence-based tool for measuring and supporting change.

This will provide qualitative and quantitative information for the team at UHI, who will be tracking and reporting on the success of the project. Outcomes Star is most useful to the patient as a visual aid in seeing their success from the start of the journey with us to the final meeting where they are discharged from service. This provides a sense of achievement and often helps individuals feel more confident in their ability to reach their goals. 

"NHS Highland are delighted to be working with Support in Mind Scotland on the CLW programme and that the service has now gone live for referrals. A strong partnership has developed between the two organisations. CLW have been very responsive to making any changes and adaptions to ensure the programme is working for all parties.”

            - Sandra MacAllister, Health Improvement Specialist, NHS Highland

Who we are

We currently have a team of 14.

This includes a locality manager (Rosita Novak), 2 Project Managers (Mandy Cairns and Sharyn Morgan), 5 Senior Community Link Workers and 6 Community Link Workers (CLWs).

The Project is overseen by Anne MacDougall who is the Area Manager for SiMS in the Highlands.

Animation About the CLW Project


For further information about the Community Link Project;

Email: Rosita Novak at [email protected]

Or contact:

Community Link Project,

34 Tomnahurich Street,