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New sites to test how connecting people with nature can improve mental health - Defra, Department of Health and Social Care and Natural England

Seven sites will receive a share of over £5.5m pot to research how nature can be used to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Seven sites which will test the ways in which connecting people with nature can improve mental wellbeing have been awarded a share of a £5.77 million pot, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow has announced today (Saturday 19 December).

The new test and learn sites, which are based across England, will focus on communities hardest hit by coronavirus. This could include those living in deprived areas, people with mental health conditions or BAME communities. Since the coronavirus pandemic, when many people have experienced distress, loneliness or anxiety, there has been an increased public awareness of the benefits of regular access to green spaces. Studies have shown that this has the potential to improve mental health and wellbeing.

The sites announced today will each explore and bring together opportunities for communities to get involved in their natural environment. This could include activities such as walking, cycling, community gardening and food-growing projects, and practical conservation tasks such as tree planting. For people who need help to get involved this could include supported visits to local green spaces, waterways and the coast, and other outdoor activities to reduce isolation and loneliness.

This will benefit thousands of people across the country, including people in urban, rural and coastal areas.

Posted on: 05 January 2021

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