The opportunity to physically connect with nature, to manually work with soil and sow and grow plants is rarely on the agenda for students at university. The indoor environments of academia do not usually lend themselves to going down the allotment for a couple of hours. Fresh air and the glow of healthy exercise when digging in manure is not, for students, generally where you would connect them to. Perhaps a work out at the gym, some yoga, a Pilates class is what provides the physical challenge. Certainly not a session of digging.
That is unless you happen to be a student at the University of East Anglia.
Thank you to Eden on Prescription for allowing us to link to the information about the social prescribing projects going on at the Eden Project. Always exciting when a good idea becomes reality. Even more so when it's evident that it's making a difference.
"Sensing Nature" has been a two-year research project, led by Dr Sarah Bell at the University of Exeter and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Using an in-depth qualitative approach, the project has aimed to improve the ways we understand, enable and promote more inclusive, multisensory nature experiences amongst people living with sight impairment. Sarah brings LGHN up to date with the project's progress this year.
It was the walled garden that did it….
When Anna Baker Cresswell’s beloved Mother was living with Parkinson’s Disease during the last years of her life, Anna gave up her job in London and moved back home to Northumberland to look after her. The walled garden there gave Anna snatched half hours of calm, control and order when the rest of her life had none.
A recent article posted by the Design Council paves a way for cities that promote rather than damage our mental health.
The Lambeth GP Food Co-operative has launched a video (part funded by NHS England) featuring its work and describing its vision.
As Dr Vikesh Sharma, a GP at the Grantham Practice in Stockwell, points out in the co-operative's latest newsletter, despite the project's success, prescribing gardening is still a novel idea to many patients. The challenge for a GP practice is 'to normalise the concept'. 'People come to GP surgeries and expect to be referred down certain pathways and it requires a change of mindset to consider the gardening club a viable option.' As the video demonstrates, this change is already beginning to take place.
The charity Greenfingers, that creates inspiring gardens for children's hospices, recently began the second year of its A Million Moments Appeal. It aims to raise £1 million to enable another 5,000 children involved in hospice system to benefit from the outdoor spaces the charity creates.
Lambeth GP Food Co-operative celebrated its 3rd anniversary this year. A party at Lambeth Walk Surgery, together with a brain-scrambling quiz and a magnificent birthday cake, marked the event in style.
According to Project Director, Ed Rosen, the idea behind the project is really simple: ‘ to build life affirming gardens in every one of Lambeth’s GP surgeries.’
Retired nurse and Group Leader, Hilda Castillo-Binger, took ten minutes from hosting the party to show a LGHN representative around the Lambeth site. The paved area that runs alongside the surgery is filled with an impressive array of fruit, vegetables and herbs. They’re grown in raised beds and every imaginable form of container. Half empty compost bags seem to make particularly efficient, deep pots.
Hot on the heels of renewed publicity about levels of inactivity and the benefits of outdoor exercise, the first Wildfit course has been launched in Trowbridge Park, Wiltshire.
The course, which is open and free for the public to use, includes a trail to run or walk and exercise zones that target different aspects of fitness. Each piece of equipment has clear user guidance and has been designed so to be used by anybody, regardless of their level of fitness or experience.
The activity trail was designed by Phil Walker at Wildfit, himself a stroke survivor. Phil was already a qualified fitness trainer but his own experience and recovery has taught him the particular benefits of outdoor activity in the fresh air over indoor exercise:
A stroll in the park could be the best way for urban dwellers to banish negative thoughts. A New York Times blog reports on research at Stanford University into the psychological effects of urban living.
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