Enhancing Health, Tackling Climate Change – Cheshire West & Chester Council

Posted on 30th September, 2021

Context

Cheshire’s Natural Health Service uses the best of our county’s green space assets to help tackle recognised local health inequalities. This initiative builds on the growing body of evidence that activities in the natural environment can have a significant impact on keeping people healthy. The programme is made up of health-promoting, enjoyable group activities within some of Cheshire West & Chester’s wonderful green spaces. It targets the Borough’s most at-risk groups and areas of local inequality highlighted in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). Since its launch in 2016, Cheshire’s Natural Health Service in Cheshire West has seen over 3,000 participants take part in one of the largest community-led evidence-based programmes to date, contributing to influential UK policy and international academic research.

The challenge:

An increasing body of evidence shows that engagement with our natural environment promotes good mental and physical health. Spending time in green spaces can reduce stress, encourage physical activity, boost social cohesion and reduce our exposure to harms such as air pollution. There is a hypothesis that humans are hardwired to need a connection with nature – so-called ‘biophilia’ – and that spending time in green surroundings is an important factor in our overall health and wellbeing.

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