Lockdown highlighted the impact of green spaces on our mental health and wellbeing. Social prescribing and community-based support enables GPs, other health and care practitioners and local agencies to refer people to a link worker who gives people time and focuses on what matters to the individual. For some people this will be green social prescribing, which links them to nature-based interventions and activities, such as local walking for health schemes, community gardening and food-growing projects.
In collaboration with a team of researchers from University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth, we will investigate whether prescribing nature can help prevent and tackle mental ill health.
Throughout the two year funded period, the research consortium will deliver an in depth evaluation across seven test and learn sites targeting communities in England hardest hit by COVID-19. We are helping these sites understand how, and in what ways, their activities can successfully connect people with nature to improve mental health and wellbeing. The team will also take a “lighter touch” approach to evaluating green social prescribing in other areas, helping to boost understanding of how green social prescribing could be scaled up and embedded into practice effectively.
The evaluation is funded for a total of £887,413 from HMT’s Shared Outcomes Fund, a fund announced by HM Treasury to pilot innovative ways of working that will improve collaboration on priority policy areas that sit across, and are delivered by, multiple public sector organisations to improve outcomes and deliver better value for citizens.
The evaluation contract has been awarded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and will also be supported by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Natural England, NHS England, Public Health England, Sport England, the National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP), and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
- University of Sheffield
- Sheffield Hallam University