Friday 22 September 2023
Following being successfully introduced in the High Peak, Nature Prescriptions are now being prescribed by health professionals in the Derbyshire Dales.
A Nature Prescription is a free to use, non-medical approach based on accessible, self-led activities that people can do anywhere, on their own or with others; and that aim to create lasting connections with nature.
The project is being led by the RSPB and Peak District National Park Authority with the Social Prescribing team at Derbyshire Dales CVS (Council for Voluntary Services).
The year-round programme offers a calendar of ideas and opportunities for people to experience the health benefits of spending time outdoors and getting closer to nature. The scheme also works for people who are unable to leave their homes by suggesting activities they can do such as listening to birds from their window.
Sarah Walker, nature and wellbeing project manager at RSPB England, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Peak District National Park again as the Nature Prescriptions project expands from the High Peak to now include the Derbyshire Dales. With so many opportunities for connecting with nature, we hope many more people in the area will benefit."
Dr Pauline Love, a GP prescriber in the Derbyshire Dales, said: “Nature prescribing is really important for helping improve people’s health. I am passionate about getting people out into nature for the physical and mental health benefits they will enjoy, and in turn for the help they can bring to nature – healthy nature, healthy people.
“We know that being close to nature, whether in a small space at home or out in the wider countryside, it helps reduce people’s blood pressure, it reduces stress, and helps reduce heart attacks. There is plenty of public health evidence that shows that experiencing nature improves people’s health and wellbeing.”
The prescriptions are based on accessible, self-led activities that people can do from home, on their own or with others, which have been trialled successfully by RSPB Scotland in the Shetland Isles and Edinburgh, and resulted in over 74% of patients saying they had benefitted.
Jo Hanney, a Peak District National Park engagement ranger, said: “We have decades of experience in enabling people to connect with nature in the National Park but the RSPB Nature Prescription gives us new opportunities to work with more diverse audiences in our local communities.
“We’ve helped to develop a calendar of monthly activities, supported by an information leaflet, which are specific to opportunities in the Derbyshire Dales and the Peak District National Park, with activities that encourage people to visit our traffic-free trails, Miles Without Stiles routes, and family walks.”
Harriet Brown, a Social Prescribing Development Worker at Derbyshire Dales CVS, said: “The expansion of RSPB’s Nature Prescriptions into our area is great news – we are looking forward to introducing people to Nature Prescriptions and seeing the positive impacts it’s going to have on people’s lives and in our communities.”
The Nature Prescription is available through the Social Prescribing Team of the Derbyshire Dales CVS www.ddcvs.org.uk/social-prescribing/
For more advice on how to connect with Nature, there is information on the National Park website www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/home-wellbeing