Let’s go outside and use free green spaces for our wellbeing
New guides showcasing local green spaces have been created to encourage people to spend more time outdoors experiencing natural environments to the benefit of their physical and mental health.
9 locations have been chosen across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin to make up the guides, which contain maps, photos and waymarked trails. Each location has a free downloadable route, instructions on how to get there, accessibility information, and details of what you can see and do.
This is one of the outcomes from a two-year Green Social Prescribing project, run by a partnership between Energize STW (the active partnership for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) and Shropshire Wildlife Trust, with support from both local authorities in our County. The project is all about encouraging people to access outdoor spaces to help improve their health and wellbeing.
The guides have been designed for everyone; from those taking their first steps to get out in nature, to social prescribers based in GP surgeries across the County who want to help provide their patients with options to access free local green spaces.
The 9 guides are available to view on the Shropshire Wildlife Trust website at www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/local-greenspaces.
Sharon Smith, Green Social Prescribing Officer at Energize STW and Shropshire Wildlife Trust said:
“Our research has shown both social prescribers and the public were needing more information about local green spaces which are free to access and enjoy. Our focus was around what we coined the 3 Ls – low cost, low level, and local. We wanted to showcase short routes that were accessible and not intimidating to beginners in nature, so nothing involving steep, long hikes. We selected walks that required very little to no financial cost to visit and that were local, or on bus routes, so that car travel wouldn’t be a necessity.”
Abi Lowe-Werrell, Healthy Lives Advisor in Shropshire and a #TogetherWeMove Champion with Energize STW said:
“Through my role as a Healthy Lives advisor, I have supported patients to make use of their local outdoor spaces, be it sitting on a bench down their street to watch the world go by, walking to the park with their children or taking an active role in a community project. I have seen people improve their mental health through mindfulness and making connections with nature and other people. Others have used outdoor space to support weight loss and have gained confidence in their body and ability for change. Being in the outdoors can energise and inspire us.”
Cllr Carolyn Healy (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for climate action, green spaces, heritage and leisure, said:
“Living in a green and sustainable borough is central to people living healthy lives, so it’s wonderful to see these guides being produced for some of Telford and Wrekin’s top walks.
“As a council, we recognise the huge benefits our residents can experience by spending time surrounded by nature. That’s why we’ve been investing more than £4.5m to enhance Telford and Wrekin’s parks, nature reserves and walking and cycling routes – making our wonderful green spaces more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.”
If you would like more information about the Green Social Prescribing project, please contact Sharon Smith, Green Social Prescribing Officer at Sharon.Smith@energizestw.org.uk or 07903 018035.