Health & Wellbeing

Volunteering by NE&C Team

The natural environment, from parks and gardens to countryside and coast, plays an important part in good health and wellbeing.  Contact with nature promotes better health and can help reduce health inequalities.     

Mental Health 
Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people and contact with nature can help to prevent, alleviate and assist recovery.  Natural environments help to lower levels of stress, enhance mood, increase concentration and boost self-esteem.

Physical Health
Many common chronic diseases are linked to a lack of physical activity – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers and osteoporosis.  The natural environment provides many opportunities for ‘green exercise’ and being outdoors helps people maintain their motivation to keep fit. 

Health Inequalities
Access to greenspace reduces the health gap in society.  Living near greenspace can help ease chronic stress, improve quality of life and create stronger communities.  The beneficial effect of greenspace is greatest in deprived areas. 

An effective, low-cost health service
Nature can deliver public health benefits:

  • Healthcare settings – views of greenery and experiencing nature in gardens and grounds can aid recovery in hospitals and care centres.
  • Primary care – patients can be signposted to outdoor activity and green exercise such as health walks, cycling and gardening.
  • Social care – horticultural therapy is particularly valuable for the elderly and those with mental health problems.  ‘Green care’ uses nature to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable people.
  • Community health – provision of local greenspace is important for giving everyone the opportunity to take regular advantage of the health benefits that nature provides. 

What’s the Partnership doing?

May 2016

We just published a major assessement of the provision of Natural Greenspace in areas of low levels of physical activity.  
The purpose of the study was to investigate accessibility of greenspace for populations in Kent, particularly those who are considered physically inactive, based on government recommendations for maintaining good health.  Indeed, data from the Active People Survey shows that 28% of the Kent population are not active enough for good health.  

More on this here.

Health & Nature Working Group Action Plan updates

Action Plan update April 2016- PDF