West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP)’s Green Social Prescribing Grant Scheme is now open to submissions.
Applications for the WY&H HCP scheme are open until 5pm on 2 March 2021, with grants of between £5,000 to £10,000 available.
It’s open to voluntary, community and public sector organisations, and hopes to receive submissions from diverse, wide-ranging projects that aim to connect people to local nature as a way of improving mental and physical health.
Potential projects could cover areas such as:
- Nature-based outdoor arts, education and sports
- Conservation and community food growing projects
- Creating new green spaces, e.g. pocket parks.
The scheme is part of the WY&H HCP’s wider plans to use green social prescribing as a way to help tackle the interlinked issues of health inequalities and climate change.
This is also in line with national policy on ways to reduce medical and health-related emissions, after the NHS announced its goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with net zero emissions within its supply chain to follow by 2045.
Leading Healthcare got in touch with WY&H HCP to find out a little bit more about the project, what they’re looking for from applicants and the wider benefits of green social prescribing.
Josephine Ozols-Riding, the Climate Change and Improving Population Health Project Manager for WY&H HCP, told us: “Our five-year plan is about reducing health inequalities and improving population health. There’s so much evidence to suggest that access to nature supports physical and mental wellbeing.
“It can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also encourages physical activity, which we know can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as other health conditions.
“COVID-19 has further highlighted how important greenspace is for our communities and so, as a partnership, we wanted to do something to support nature-based projects and help make access more equitable.
“We realised how much enthusiasm and interest in green social prescribing there is across our region, from councils, GPs and hospitals to voluntary and community organisations. So we’re in the process of setting up a Green Social Prescribing Network to capitalise on all this energy. We’re hoping it will help more people to see investment in ‘green space as a health intervention’.
Reaching out to potential grant applicants to explain further what the WY&H HCP is looking for, she added: “This grant scheme is all about enabling organisations to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Offering targeted interventions where there’s a real need for green space or nature based activities, where they either don’t exist or where people face structural or socio-economic barriers to access.
“Because we’re looking to build a network, we’re keen to support innovative projects that do things in a different way, so that we learn and grow together.”
On how projects such as these can have benefits for entire communities, as part of a much wider local, national and even global picture, Josephine said: “There’s also a really important climate change angle to work in this area – we know that trees and plants capture carbon and have a cooling effect on the microclimate.
“So investment in greenspace helps mitigate some of the negative health impacts of climate change, for example its impact on respiratory and cardiovascular illness, which we know disproportionately affects our most vulnerable communities. Investment in greenspace and nature-based projects really supports health in a holistic way.”
The WY&H HCP is keen to share its learning on green social prescribing with a wider audience: “We want to share best practice across the region, that’s a key part of our work. It’s not just time-limited grants, it’s also about how we as a system can learn from it”.
To find out more, or to sign up to the Green Social Prescribing Network, email: email@example.com or visit the partnership’s website. You can also follow @WYHpartnership on Twitter to receive the latest updates on the grant scheme and other green social prescribing initiatives.