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.

There is an increasingly strong evidence base demonstrating the myriad benefits of spending time in nature for people’s health and wellbeing, as well as the efficacy of nature-based approaches to health and wellbeing. Despite the persuasive arguments for nature-based health solutions, there remains a lack of a clear pathway for making available these solutions through the mainstream healthcare sector, as well as a lack of funding for practitioners. The growing momentum behind social prescribing provides an opportunity to ‘mainstream’ nature-based health services, making them commissionable and enabling funding to be directed towards them.

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
  • provide a common space for practitioners and prescribers to communicate and to raise awareness of nature-based health services.

To access the notes from the discussions, click here.

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. To see the slides from the meeting, click here. The group also had the opportunity to chat, network, and explore and connect with the idyllic setting of Kelston Roundhill.

Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to the discussions, and we hope to see many of you soon! WENP will continue to work with partners across the region to mainstream nature-based health services: click here to view our plan for Nature and Health in the West of England.

Photos © Emily Malik.

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