Applications open to deliver four ‘green social prescribing’ pilots as part of a £4.27 million project to improve mental health and wellbeing in communities hardest hit by coronavirus.
A trailblazing scheme of £4.27m launches today (Monday 5th October) aimed at helping the mental wellbeing of communities hardest hit by coronavirus. The project will examine how to scale-up green social prescribing services in England to help improve mental health outcomes, reduce health inequalities and alleviate demand on the health and social care system.
The fund, announced in July by Environment Secretary, George Eustice, is now officially open for funding applications from potential delivery partners. Expressions of Interest to become a ‘test and learn’ site for this pioneering social prescribing project are welcome from partnerships of local health, care and environment leads.
Social prescribing connects people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support and to improve health and wellbeing. Evidence including from Natural England shows that the NHS could save over £2 billion in treatment costs if everyone in England had equal access to good quality green space.
Green prescribing could include support for walking and cycling groups, green gyms, and practical habitat management conservation tasks such as tree planting. For more vulnerable groups, it could include supported visits to local green space, activities such as gardening, and other outdoor activities to reduce isolation and loneliness.