Evaluation of Green Social Prescribing Initiative

News | Posted on Wednesday 12 May 2021

YESI Health & Environment Research Theme co-leads are part of a team led by Dr Anna Kenyon at the University of Central Lancashire, evaluating the benefits and barriers to accessing nature of 10 new green social prescribing projects, funded by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Green Social Prescribing Grant Scheme

Red bench in forest overlooking water
Red bench in forest overlooking water

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is funding 10 Green Social Prescribing Projects, which help connect people to nature to improve their mental and physical health.

The projects vary from a “pocket park” to a state-of-the-art urban food growing farm — and involve hospitals, GPs, local authorities, community groups, mental health and nature-based charities. All projects focus on communities who typically face inequalities in access to nature. They were selected in anticipation that they would have a long-term impact in their communities, inspiring others to follow suit and creating a step change across the region.  

The Partnership are keen to inspire others to invest in greenspace projects by helping to build the evidence base to demonstrate that nature-based projects are both good for public health and an important climate change intervention. 

Professor Piran White (Dept of Environment and Geography) and Dr Peter Coventry (Department of Health Sciences), co-leads of YESI's Environment and Health Research Theme, and Dr Sarah Knight and Sagarmoy Phukan (Dept of Environment and Geography), will work with Dr Anna Kenyon and Dr Alexander Montasem from the University of Central Lancashire to support the Partnership in evaluating the projects. They will be considering the benefits to health and wellbeing, alongside potential benefits to the environment, for example for biodiversity and natural flood management. The resulting evaluation framework will be made available to others working on greenspace projects in the region and include an estimate of social return on investment. Another important strand of the evaluation will be looking at the barriers facing different groups when accessing nature and how we can use this knowledge to support more equitable access.