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Improve your health & wellbeing by using outdoor space

I‘m Jenny, a Social Prescribing Link Worker and my role is to support our patients with their non-medical needs by linking them with local organisations/groups and providing them with information to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

What is green social prescribing? Social prescribing can be defined as referral of individuals to services other than clinical services where those services will help the individual improve their health and wellbeing.

Health and wellbeing can be affected by a number of issues and circumstances and the NHS in its wider form is now recognising that non-clinical solutions can be as helpful, if not more so, than clinical solutions in certain circumstances.

Social prescribing links these individuals to services and other solutions that GPs and Practice Nurses may not have access to or knowledge of.

Green social prescribing (GSP) is an extension of this but concentrates on the wider benefits of utilising exercise and open spaces to benefit the health and wellbeing of individuals. The LILT, along with Harborough District Council (HDC) and other agencies, applied to be a GSP pilot site towards the end of 2020 but were unsuccessful. However, all concerned with the bid decided to continue to develop the concept within Harborough. GSP encourages the use of various outdoor activities ranging from fishing and gentle walks through to park runs and organised sporting activities.

It has been recognised that our health can be affected by many factors that are not medically based. For example poor housing, unemployment, loneliness etc.

Social prescribing is the term used to describe a new kind of support available in primary care.

Patients and those they care for are offered support for things that are not medical. For example, signposting someone to a service that can support them to learn some new skills, linking someone to a befriending service, making a referral to a debt advisor etc. Green social prescribing is also part of this offer. It is linking patients to activities that take place outdoors. For example; local gardening club, walking groups etc. All of these things can support a person to improve their overall sense of health and wellbeing. This in turn will help our overall physical and mental wellbeing in the long term.

The LILT is working with HDC and other agencies to develop what can be offered and how those offers can be expanded as society comes out of the current pandemic. One of the links we have established is with the company that runs HDC’s leisure centres in order to build the offers that are available and determine how it will be best to advertise and make them available to the widest possible range of individuals. In addition, the LILT and HDC are working on developing digital platforms to improve access for younger people to information relating to outside activities.

Market Harborough has some great access to parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.

Activities available include: Skateboarding, Sea Cadets, Archery, Basketball, Woodland School, Tennis, Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Football, Cricket, BMX Biking, Park Fitness, Walking Clubs, Running Clubs, Outdoor Pursuits Centres, Kayaking and Canoeing.  

By The Speak Out Team

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