To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the Thriving Communities funded Green Happy Café in Northamptonshire, led by Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, reflects on their work to embed green social prescribing in the community for 3000 people. One of the project partners, Dr David Smart, Clinical Director Prevention and Mental Health, General Practice Alliance, tells us more.
“The main target group of the population we are working with are people with long-term conditions and low wellbeing. The beautiful Delapre Park sits within an urban environment, making it an ideal location. For many with long-term conditions they have become isolated as they have had to be shielded, the open space of the park provides an opportunity for people to come together and be safe together. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that communities need outdoor space to enjoy, relax and explore.
We use the framework of Action for Happiness’ 10 Keys to Happier Living as a menu to help people choose what matters to them. This menu is based on evidence based actions they can take that will improve mental wellbeing and will be supported by resources and courses with Action for Happiness.
We want to encourage more people to exercise especially in the green space which we are fortunate to have in Northampton, as increased exercise will impact positively on all long-term conditions and prevent and support recovery for people with mental disorder, as well as improving wellbeing.
We are developing a cycle park, walking routes, befriending walks with Age UK and healthy group walks. Our plan is very much to work in partnership with local community and co-create activities for our local population to enjoy and hopefully become habits in their lives.
Connecting with nature also provides deeper connections with growth, depth and meaning. We want to encourage people to connect with others and are promoting volunteering and the opportunity to give to others, knowing that ‘the best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.’”