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Mental Health Awareness Week

A green boost for mental health

Next week sees the launch of the new Green Social Prescribing Programme for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The two-year pilot programme aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of communities hardest hit by coronavirus, by connecting people with nature-based activities and local green groups and projects.

Monday also sees the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021), organised by the Mental Health Foundation, which this year is focused on promoting the benefits of connecting people with nature to improve their mental health.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being outdoors, with millions of us turning to nature as a coping strategy, particularly during lockdown. Evidence shows that being more connected to nature and, through doing this, connecting with other people helps us experience lower levels of stress, fatigue and anxiety, among other benefits. Green social prescribing is a growing movement which carries this principle forward, providing much-needed support to people who are struggling with their mental health, by connecting them with community groups and local green initiatives for practical and emotional support.

Programme overview

Nottingham was selected as one of seven government ‘Green Social Prescribing Test and Learn’ sites and awarded £500,000, through the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS), to run this two-year pilot nature-based programme. The aim is to engage with individuals most at risk of developing poor mental health and create the activities and support they need, whilst making the most of the natural environment.

Over the next two years, the Green Social Prescribing Programme will build on Nottingham City's green commitments, weaving a web that connects people, places and projects into a green network that will offer something for everyone, no matter their ability or where they live in the city and county. The focus of the programme will initially be within Nottingham City however, the programme will aim to grow into Nottinghamshire in the second year.

The programme is being delivered nationally by the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, Sport England, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government and the National Academy for Social Prescribing.

Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) will be leading the programme on a day-to-day basis, working closely with Framework and the Canal & River Trust East Midlands.

Target communities

Nottingham City’s green social prescribing pathway will focus on a whole-system, all-age approach, however the programme will also include targeted initiatives focused on some of the most deprived communities that have been disproportionally affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, namely:

  • People living with long term conditions, especially older people
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
  • Families living in disadvantaged communities and in particular, those without access to gardens, balconies or green space

For further information about the programme, please read our initial overview article - Nottingham Green Social Prescribing Programme to launch

We want to hear from you

Nottingham's intention is to make green prescriptions (using exercise in the fresh air to improve people's health and wellbeing) and nature connectedness (taking the time to notice and enjoy nature) a part of everyday life. However, some people will need help to know what nature-based opportunities there are near to them and might need some support and encouragement to use them.

If you are a green provider, social prescriber, community connector, primary care professional or voluntary organisation and would like to be part of helping deliver the Green Social Prescribing Programme then please get in touch by emailing greenspace@nottinghamcvs.co.uk

Help us spread the word about the programme

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, NCVS and other key-partners will be raising awareness of the Green Social Prescribing Programme for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire on social media, as well as sharing some examples of how green social prescriptions are making a difference to people's lives. Look out for our posts throughout the week and please give them a like and a share to help us spread the word about this exciting new programme. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Appeals, Campaigns and Opportunities
GreenSpace (green social prescribing)
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, 5 May, 2021

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