Introducing Green Social Prescribing
Green social prescribing is a way of connecting people to nature-based activities and green groups, projects and schemes in their local community for support with health and wellbeing. Often this will be through a referral from a Link Worker based at a GP practice or another primary care professional.
Our scheme in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, called GreenSpace, is all about improving people’s mental health. Green providers, social prescribers, voluntary organisations and community initiatives will help connect many more people with nature-based activities, helping everyone to feel better.
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.
Green Social Prescribing Test and Learn Programme
Nottingham Integrated Care System (ICS) was selected as one of seven government Green Social Prescribing Test and Learn sites to run a two-year pilot nature-based programme from April 2021. Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) led the pilot locally, working with system partners across the city and county to connect people, places and projects into a green network offering something for everyone, no matter their ability or where they live.
A final evaluation report for the Green Social Prescribing Programme will be published later in 2023. You can see some results and findings now on the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) website.
The next phase of Green Social Prescribing
NCVS is continuing to work with partners across the Integrated Care System to further embed and scale up green social prescribing to support more personalised approaches in health services and pathways.
Our 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 additional 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, click through to our Want to Help Deliver GreenSpace page.
To find out what nature-based providers and activities are available, take a look at our Big Green Book, a directory of nature-based activities and opportunities.