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Have you heard about Green Prescribing?

Extensive research has shown that regular access to green spaces can reduce hypertension; respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; stress and anxiety; it can also improve concentration and mood and even increase life satisfaction and happiness. Across the country Health professionals, Social Prescribing Link Workers and the Care Network wellbeing team are increasingly recommending that being outdoors, in the garden, the local park, anywhere natural, can be hugely beneficial for your health.

A project in England from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, called Prescribing Green Space, found that six to eight months after receiving a ‘green prescription’ – where people are encouraged to help plant forests and spend time in local green spaces – 63 per cent of patients were more active and 46 per cent had lost weight.

Being outdoors in nature is not just about increasing activity, but being out anywhere where you can connect to and really notice the natural world, particularly now that the weather is improving and spring is underway, links very significantly to one of the five ways to wellbeing: noticing. The key is to try to switch off from your worries and day to day stressors and really notice what is going on around you: listen to the birdsong; appreciate the bright green shoots emerging from the soil and appearing on the trees and shrubs; feel the sun, wind or rain on your skin; smell the flowers, the soil and freshly mown grass; touch the leaves, the bark, the earth. It really can be a tonic after the winter months.

The beauty of a green prescription is that you can prescribe it for yourself (and to your family and friends) to help improve overall health and mood. It would be good for us all to try and make time every day to be out in and noticing nature. Enjoy.

Kate Blackwell, Senior Coordinator for Wellbeing, March 2020

A helping hand

Lorraine from our Help at Home service writes:  Change is always difficult: we might say, ‘I don’t mind change.. ‘ I welcome change’… but secretly, we are nervous of the unknown.

My volunteer pool has grown over the past couple of months as we have changed the way our Help at home service is delivered. However, change has brought with it new conversations, not least from volunteers I knew as a name, but hadn’t previously spoken to.

 

Those of you that know me, know I love a chat and I love an accent, so imagine my pleasure when I spoke to one of our volunteers with a soft Scottish accent and a wonderful story she shared with me.

 

This lovely lady was very pleased to hear from me, and I could hear the smile in her voice as she said ‘ well I do enjoy helping with those little things…’ 

We chatted briefly about Christmas and the weather, and she told me that she had been away on a cruise.  During her holiday she had visited the ship’s laundry room and met a lady doing her ironing.  They shared the usual pleasantries about the ship and the trip so far and how, no matter where you are, chores still need to be done. 

‘Oh I hate ironing’, said the lady

‘Really? I love it.  In fact I like it so much I work for charity and have helped people who can’t manage household tasks for themselves, ironing being one of them.’

‘So where do you live?’ said the woman

‘Cambridgeshire’ said our volunteer.

‘Whereabouts exactly?’ enquired the woman further.

‘Oh a little village near Peterborough’ said our volunteer.

‘And the charity? What’s the name of the Charity?’

‘Oh you probably have never heard of them, they are called Care Network,’ said our lovely volunteer with pride!

‘I live in that area,’ said the woman ‘and you came to my house three years ago to do just that when I broke my arm!’

 

The volunteer went on to say that it was in that moment she realised how much she was needed and so she was very glad when I called with details of someone else she could help.

 

So for me, talking to the volunteers who deliver our service is an absolute pleasure and reminds me why and how we do what we do.  I hope that with all the volunteer events planned for 2020 that I get to meet and thank more of our wonderful volunteers.  These selfless people pay it forward in the name of Care Network every day and I, for one, am very grateful for their time and efforts.

Thank you LW for sharing your story and your heart with our communities.