NCVS is working in partnership with Historic England to lead on a new Heritage Buddies Project. This is an innovative pilot project to test and trial an approach to delivering social prescribing and wellbeing through heritage in local settings, across Nottingham City.
The project aims to help people appreciate the value of their local heritage and the local historic environment, experience how it can positively benefit their health and wellbeing, widen the access to heritage organisations and activities they offer, support active participation in engaging with the historic environment and strengthen community cohesion and pride of place.
The project will test and trial the use of volunteers in both befriending and heritage organisations to link people in need through social prescribing to engagement with local heritage and the historic environment in a place.
This is part of the “whole-community approach to social prescribing”, as adopted by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP). NCVS has developed a similar approach for connecting with nature, in partnership with Natural England, NASP and local partners. We are now keen to share and use the learning and experience gained from the ‘Green Buddies’ scheme delivered through GreenSpace: the local green social prescribing scheme, to develop the Heritage Buddies Project.
What is a Heritage Buddy?
A Heritage Buddy is a specially trained volunteer who helps a person, on a one-to-one basis or as part of a small group, to overcome barriers to taking part in activities they want to do. This could be visiting a local heritage site and connecting with the history of their community, going on a heritage walk or taking part in a creative heritage activity.
A Heritage Buddy could simply help a participant access a bus timetable to travel to an activity or introduce and help the individual to take part in a heritage activity they want to do.
Why do we need Heritage Buddies?
For some people, taking part in heritage activities will be very challenging. They may experience anxiety around:
- finding out about activities
- researching where to go
- not knowing how to get to an activity and finding suitable transport
- knowing what to wear
- completing administration and forms
- joining a new group of people
- believing this is not for them
- a fear of other people in these spaces.
These anxieties form a significant barrier, preventing people taking part in and benefiting from heritage activities.
‘...heritage activities provide a valuable pathway for practical and emotional support. They give space to reflect, and to hope. And they empower people who may be struggling with anything from isolation to ill-health with the tools to rewrite their personal story - to one of positive change, resilience, confidence, and better wellbeing’.
National Academy for Social Prescribing
Want to get involved?
We would like to invite interest and involvement from befriending or heritage organisations with a volunteer policy and supporting procedures, who are interested to involve their volunteers in this pilot. Volunteer training with organisations will take place throughout July, August and September 2023.
Not able to host a heritage buddy? We will also be creating a supportive Heritage Providers Signposting Section on the NCVS website to increase awareness of provision and opportunities across the city.
If you are interested to be involved or would like further information, please contact Sarah Greaves, our Heritage Buddies Coordinator. Sarah works Thursdays and Fridays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.