Our lives are part of and dependent on the natural world. We are currently facing the interlinked challenges of a climate and nature emergency, a physical and mental health crisis, and deepening inequalities, with the urgent need to act holistically for the health of the planet and people.
It is also well evidenced that contact with nature is essential for our physical and mental health. Different levels and forms of support are needed to enable everyone to benefit from connection with nature, depending on their specific needs: from ensuring everyone has nature in their everyday lives, to targeted nature-based interventions for those with a defined need.
The WENP Nature and Health Group was set up in 2018, bringing together representatives from a wide range of organisations to work in partnership on nature and health across the West of England. Much progress has been made since, and in 2021 Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG (Healthier Together) was selected as one of seven ‘Test and Learn Sites’ for green social prescribing across England: the Healthier with Nature Project formed through this pilot is accelerating the integration of nature-based approaches into health and care.
The challenge now is to maintain this momentum, ensuring a sustainable shift to an integrated and well-funded nature and health sector. Our Strategy for Nature and Health in the West of England sets out a Vision for Nature and Health in the West of England and a Seven-Point Plan to guide our work in meeting this challenge.
We welcome views on our Strategy for Nature and Health in the West of England. Get in touch at [email protected].