Camden and Islington launch Parks for Health

Published:
00:01 July 7, 2022



A plan has been announced to make parks and green spaces hubs for improving well-being and reducing health inequalities.

In 2019, Islington and Camden councils received an initial grant of £667,000 under the Future Parks Accelerator initiative to reimagine how outdoor spaces could become part of the healthcare system.

The councils worked with 36 park user groups, more than 50 community organizations and nine GP practices to develop the Parks for Health strategy.

Barriers to use such as childhood habits, social isolation, feelings of insecurity and experience of bullying were identified.

The strategy aims to remove these barriers by 2030, with steps already taken towards green social prescribing, dementia health walks and intergenerational events.

This involves investing in parks, putting well-being at the center of projects, encouraging biodiversity, working with communities and public bodies and strengthening relations with health and social partners.

Islington’s Health and Social Care Manager, Cllr Nurullah Turan, and Environment Manager, Cllr Rowena Champion, said in a statement: ‘We are committed to creating a more equal Islington and maximizing the potential parks and green spaces in Islington so they can support everyone – no matter where they come from – improving their mental and physical well-being is at the heart of this.

‘Islington is Britain’s most densely populated local authority, and only 13% of the borough’s land is green space, which is why it’s so important that we do the best we can with what we have. , to deliver better health outcomes for all.

“The Parks for Health project has allowed us to really focus on how we can use our parks and green spaces to their full potential to support health and well-being. The strategy sets out the learning we and Camden have done through the project, as well as details our pioneering, cross-borough approach to reimagining parks and green spaces to realize their full potential.

Camden’s Health and Social Care Manager, Cllr Anna Wright, and Sustainability Manager, Cllr Adam Harrison, said in a statement: ‘The global pandemic has starkly reminded us of the importance of all open public spaces , particularly in Camden where two in five of our residents’ homes do not have access to private outdoor space – the third highest in the country.

“Our parks therefore act as shared gardens for those who don’t have one and provide space to both relax, socialize and stay active, indeed research has shown that regular use of at least green space once a week is associated with a 43% lower risk of poor general health.

“This successful collaboration between Camden and Islington Councils has demonstrated how we can enrich our two boroughs for the benefit of all residents by pooling our knowledge and resources and is a key example of how we are creating Camden together. .

The Parks for Health strategy is available at www.camden.gov.uk/parks-in-camden#spdg and www.islington.gov.uk/parksforhealth