Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) is playing a key role in a new two-year partnership project aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of communities hardest hit by coronavirus.
The aim of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Green Social Prescribing Programme (NNGSPP) is to connect more people with nature and nature-based activities to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being outdoors to people’s mental and physical health, as well as the inequality of access to green space. Social prescribing can provide much-needed support by connecting people to community groups and local initiatives for practical and emotional help and to improve their health and wellbeing.
What is Green Social Prescribing?
Green social prescribing is about connecting people with nature and their local environments. This could include a wide range of activities such as local Walking for Health schemes, active travel (such as walking or cycling), local park runs, community gardening and food growing projects, as well as conservation volunteering, green gyms, and arts and cultural activities which take place outdoors.
The Green Social Prescribing Programme will test how to make green social prescribing an integral part of supporting local communities in order to:
- Improve mental health outcomes
- Reduce health inequalities
- Reduce demand on the health and social care system
- Develop best practice in making green social activities more resilient and accessible
Who is involved
The project has been made possible thanks to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS) which applied to deliver the two-year project from April 2021 to March 2023.
The project is funded 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's approach and aims
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.
Building on Nottingham City’s green commitments, the green social prescribing programme will aim to weave a web that connects people, places and projects into a Green Network that offer something for everyone, no matter their ability or where they live in the city.
The work will be centred around the following key themes:
- Develop the Green Network
- Invest in the community and voluntary sector
- Build on Nottingham City's assets
- Focus on inequalities
- Build sustainability
These themes emerged following engagement with many of the city's service users, stakeholders and health and care professionals.
Nottingham City’s green social prescribing pathway will focus on a whole-system, all-age approach to provide the sustainability, scale and scope that will allow the learning and good practice to be shared with the county in year two of the project.
Targeted initiatives will be 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
The green social prescribing project team will continue to prepare the project and finalise delivery plans working with local organisations, local people and the national team.
NCVS will continue to work with Framework and the Canal & River Trust, alongside other local partners across the city to enhance the nature-based offer by:
- Developing green volunteering opportunities, capacity and capability
- Enhancing the connections between nature-based providers and health and social care
- Delivering targeted nature-based interventions
- Investing in the community and voluntary sector
- Communicating green opportunities and engaging communities in green co-production
The Green Social Prescribing Programme will launch in May during Mental Health Awareness Week (10 May – 16 May). The theme for the week is nature and the benefits engaging in nature-based activities have on our mental health.
In June, we will also be launching our Green Grant Scheme for community and voluntary organisations to enhance or develop their nature-based activities.
If you would like to find out more about the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Green Social Prescribing Programme, please click here to access an overview document (pdf.).