We were delighted to welcome the West of England Nature Partnership (WENP) and guests last week for a day-long workshop on social prescribing. The group included occupational and mental health therapists, psychiastrists and social workers and representatives of nature and wildlife projects and therapeutic outdoor activity providers.
Michéal Connors of the Natural Academy kicks off WENP’s social prescribing workshop at the Old Barn.
Social prescribing (see NHS description here) uses state health or welfare purchasing power to buy innovative and natural therapies such as outdoor activities in forests, gardens or sports clubs. Social prescribing is a great idea if it could be made to work at scale, and the sooner the better.
Given the problems such as mental health and wellbeing, obesity and nature deficit disorder on the one hand and the need for new models to make nature and farmland resources viable this seems like a market waiting to happen. That doesn’t mean it will happen of course, either overnight or indeed at all. But it seemed very clear just from observing the start of the day that there’s a diverse and talented group of people keen to take it forward in the west of England. We’re happy to be part of that and to facilitate it in any way we can.
There’s a writeup of the event on the WENP blog:
Practitioners in Nature and Health, Social Prescribers, and others working in health and wellbeing met yesterday at Kelston Roundhill Old Barn to discuss building links between Practitioners and Social Prescribing. The event was organised and facilitated by WENP, the Natural Academy and Ecowild…Attendees discussed the challenges of increasing the availability of nature-based health services and possible solutions to these problems. Discussions identified the need to:
- unlock funding for the sector;
- build connections between practitioners, prescribers and funders;
- increase the awareness (for health professionals, social prescribers and the general public) of nature-based health services and their benefits, including their financial efficacy; and
- a common space practitioners and prescribers to communicate and to raise awareness of nature-based health services.
Presentations were received from Stuart Gardner of WENP, Michéal Connors of Natural Academy, Emily Malik of Ecowild, Kelly Bray from Avon Wildlife Trust, and Dave Kelly, Managing Director of Storm Consultancy. Slides from the meeting will be made available soon. The group also had the opportunity to chat, network, and explore and connect with the idyllic setting of Kelston Roundhill.