Nature, health & wellbeing

Nature, health & wellbeing – connecting people and nature

Health and Wellbeing Working Group

2021 saw the re-launch of the Health and Wellbeing Working Group. This brings together  members from across the health sector, eNGOs, Tier 1 local authorities, academic institutions, community-based organisations and the South Downs National Park Authority.

This group is chaired by Penny Shimmin, Sussex Community Development Association

Statement of Purpose and Action Plan

Nature and Health: Shared outcomes for a collaborative approach in Sussex

In August 2023, the Health and Wellbeing Group prepared a discussion document entitled ‘An Emerging Strategy for Nature and Health in Sussex’. This document was aimed at those with an interest in extending access to nature in Sussex for the benefit of health and wellbeing. It reflected the priority of the Working Group which is to better connect people to nature in areas of health inequality and where communities and individuals are experiencing health challenges. Its purpose was to start a conversation across all sectors with an interest in ‘nature and health’ about how best to collaborate and make progress in this area of work.

Consultation on this document was carried out in 2023 and followed by an in-person workshop in September 2023 which attracted attendees from across a range of sectors.

As a result, the document was re-worked and has now been published as ‘Nature and Health: shared outcomes for a collaborative approach’ (2024).

Work is continuing within SxNP on how take this work forward.

Parks & Greenspaces: a toolkit for managers

In 2022, SxNP worked with a range of partners on an innovative project to develop methodologies for developing new visions for publicly owned parks and greenspaces. The final toolkit can be downloaded here.

This project involved carrying out natural capital assessments and social engagement exercises on 7 case study parks/greenspaces across Wealden District and Adur & Worthing Councils. From these exercises, the project developed a toolkit for those managing these spaces to help develop a greater understanding of their wider value to people and nature.

Part of the project also involved carrying out ‘health audits’ on parks and greenspaces in Wealden District (in Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield) to better understand how parks in these communities provide benefits for health and wellbeing.

Project Funders: East Sussex County Council Public Health & South Downs National Parks Authority.

Project overview here provides more information about the project and links to the other downloads available.