The UK Government has launched a £4.27m project to improve mental health and wellbeing in communities hardest hit by coronavirus. This will include pilots to scale up green social prescriptions, such as support for walking and cycling groups, green gyms, and practical habitat management conservation tasks.
Expressions of Interest to become a ‘test and learn’ site for this pioneering social prescribing project are now open to Integrated Care Systems working with partner organisations, including organisations from the environment sector. Four sites will be chosen from a range of locations across England which have been the hardest hit by coronavirus. The pilots will help establish what is required to scale up green social prescribing and the steps needed to increase patient referrals to environment and nature-based activities.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
We know that connecting with nature is good for us, and the pandemic has given us an even greater awareness of the link between our own health, and that of our environment.
I am delighted to open funding for these trailblazing projects which will test how we can increase use of green social prescribing services to improve the nation’s mental health and reduce demand on our health system.