Getting out and about in Plymouth – nature in Central Park

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, a green social prescribing project in Plymouth reflects on their work. Mark Rowles, Deputy CEO and Business Development Manager YMCA Plymouth tells the story of why they are running their project and how things are progressing.

Green social prescribing sessions will provide a health and wellbeing programme for new audiences in Central Park, Plymouth. By offering a range of activities including physical activity, outdoor theatre and conservation based offerings, this green social prescribing project will help 400 people to get access to nature and the outdoors.

“Many vulnerable people do not have access nor the disposable income to discover the natural environment around our city, whether that be Dartmoor National Park, the Cornish and Devon coastlines or South Devon countryside. The Park, which is in walking distance for many, is their potential gateway to a green environment.  Our aim through activities ranging from nature walks to sports and cultural activities being planned as part of our provision is to encourage them to explore the green space in Central Park, appreciate the wildlife, flowers and trees on their doorstep that will lead to a greater appreciation of this amazing green asset on their doorstep.

By integrating different parts of our programme offer we can also provide a safe space for participants to share the issues they face within their lives, whether it be food poverty, loneliness, lack of worth, and by working with stakeholders connected to this project develop support packages and mechanisms to assist our participants in enjoying a more fulfilling life.

Central Park is a fantastic asset for the City and one that we need to encourage people to explore. Through Walk and Talk groups for older people, a community Fun Run, nature walks and activities, tennis coaching, taster bowls sessions, music and arts centre, a dementia cafe and more we will be able to engage our community. Our activity will also allow participants to develop understanding of their local environment and how they can help to preserve it and support with its development so it can be enhanced for future generations.

Ideas Hub

Published 5th May 2021

Mark Rowles

Deputy CEO and Business Development Manager

YMCA Plymouth