Land Trust Annual Review - Health

17th December 2018

The evidence about the positive benefit of green space to our physical and mental health has continued to grow, and we are delighted to report a 100% increase in the number of people who took part in health activities on our sites in 2017-18, with more than 40,000 people getting involved.

With the NHS in a financial crisis we recognise that we have a unique opportunity to improve the physical and mental health outcomes of local residents by encouraging the use of greenspace as an alternative to traditional treatments.

In this article we look back at some of the highlights.

Health for Life

Our two year Health for Life project at Countess of Chester Country Park was a massive success with participants reporting huge improvements in their physical and mental well-being.

The £70,000 programme which was funded by the Cheshire Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, The Big Lottery, The Mersey Forest and Cheshire West and Chester Council, saw nearly 700 different events and sessions organised at the park for the public and NHS staff from the nearby hospital.

Working with the Natural Health Service Centre of Excellence which includes both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, the activities were academically evaluated, measuring participant’s health at the start and end of an 8-12 week programme.

The results were very positive.

In virtually all cases, due to the activities we ran, participants’ physical and mental health significantly improved. There was a dramatic reduction in the time participants spent sitting each day with a corresponding leap in vigorous physical exercise of nearly 60 percent.

Chief Executive of the Land Trust, Euan Hall, hailed the project as a remarkable success:

“The Countess of Chester Country Park is a major success story and the Health for Life programme has resulted in hundreds of people enjoying this fantastic green space on their doorstep.

“We know people feel healthier and happier when they’re outside, enjoying our spaces and taking part in activities on our sites.”

Social prescribing

At the Land Trust Managing Partners Awards, delegates heard from Craig Lister, managing director of Green Gym, who spoke about the benefits of social prescribing.

A means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services, social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, with many schemes focusing on improving mental health and physical well-being.

The Land Trust is well positioned to help with the delivery of Green Gym based on the outcomes we regularly deliver across the country already.

Health Site of the Year

There were joint winners of the Health Site of the Year in 2018 with Countess of Chester Country Park and Port Sunlight River Park sharing the honours.

Countess of Chester was recognised for its innovative Health for Life project, while Port Sunlight has also enjoyed a fantastic year.

Working in partnership with Autism Together, the site has held 78 health walks across the course of the year, with 40 walking groups using the site on a regular basis.

There have been 21 Big Bike Revival sessions run on the site, benefitting 114 children, while the site is also used regularly by Wirral Athletic Club.

Director of Portfolio management for the Land Trust, Alan Carter, paid tribute to the impact of both sites:

“With our NHS in crisis, the importance of people spending time outdoors simply can’t be underestimated. All our sites provide a myriad of health benefits for their users but Countess of Chester and Port Sunlight really stood out in 2017-18 and were worthy winners of the award.”

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