Join us online for our 2021 NHS Forest conference

We are delighted to invite you to our online NHS Forest conference, on the theme of An Equitable Recovery for People and Nature

Date: Tuesday 19 October 2021

Time: 2pm - 5pm BST

Register for free: Via Eventbrite

Good access to natural environments supports health and wellbeing and can also reduce health inequalities. Yet access to green space remains very unequal. While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought home to many of us the value of green heritage in local neighbourhoods, that experience has been a sharply divided one, with some groups much more restricted in access to green space than others.

With growing recognition of the role of green space as a social determinant of health, how should health professionals respond? How can they influence the provision of green space in the public realm? What opportunities exist to make green care part of their practice? And how can health sites make best use of their own green space to support recovery and wellbeing for patients, staff and communities?

The NHS Forest’s online conference will explore and share green space solutions at both a strategic and practical level. It will provide insights from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s Green Space for Health programme which this year embedded Nature Recovery Rangers at hospital sites in three locations. It will also report on a programme of outdoor wellbeing sessions, designed to support health staff in the wake of the pandemic.

We will hear from healthcare staff about their work to develop the therapeutic potential of their own green space, including a gardening programme for mental health recovery and a functioning farm perched on the rooftop of a US hospital.

We will also be presenting NHS Forest Awards for innovation and engagement with green space at healthcare sites and for the most trees planted in the NHS Forest in 2020-21. To nominate a site for an award, please click here.


  • Welcome and introduction: Rachel Stancliffe, Director, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
  • Keynote address: Green space and equity - what solutions are needed?: Judy Ling Wong, followed by Q&A
  • Nature and health - what does the latest evidence tell us on what works?: Dr Becca Lovell, followed by Q&A
  • NHS Forest highlights of 2021: Carey Newson, CSH Green Space for Health Programme Director
  • Introducing our Nature Recovery Rangers: Short video and panel discussion
  • Break
  • The power of connecting to nature for workplace wellbeing: Michéal Connors, Natural Academy and Athene Reiss, CSH
  • Nature in mind – nature connection in recovery and resilience: Guided mindfulness session led by Suzanne Tarrant
  • Developing the therapeutic potential of green space at healthcare sites: with presentations from three sites, followed by a panel discussion.
  • NHS Forest awards


The NHS Forest is a national good practice network for NHS sites working to improve the social and ecological value of their green space. This can mean tree planting, vegetable growing, orchards, meadow creation, therapeutic gardens, art trails and much more. Our annual conference is an opportunity to share ideas, inspiration and workable solutions to unlock the benefits of green space for the health and wellbeing patients, staff and local communities.

Speaker bios

Judy Ling Wong is a painter, poet and environmentalist, best known as the Honorary President of Black Environment Network (BEN). For 27 years she was the UK Director of BEN, with an international reputation as the pioneer and creator of the field of multi-cultural participation in the built and natural environment. Judy is a major voice on policy and practice towards social inclusion. Judy is recognised as a visionary advocate for diversity and equality. She was awarded an OBE for pioneering multicultural environmental participation in 2000, and a CBE for services to heritage in 2007. Recently, she was included in the BBC Power Women List, the Forbes List of 100 Leading Environmentalists in the UK, and the Climate Reframe List of 100 best-known UK BAME activists. She was given the Vanity Fair International Women’s Day Challenger Award 2021 and the Earth Day Green Plaque Award 2021.

Dr Becca Lovell is based at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health at the University of Exeter Medical School. Becca focuses on evaluating, synthesising and translating evidence of the links between nature and health for policy and practice (see Beyond Greenspace). She is interested in the multiple roles of the natural environment in determining equitable population health; ‘what works’ in environmental health interventions and the delivery of nature-based solutions; and how better understandings of the economic, social and health values of natural environments could inform cross-sectoral decision making and ways of working.

Suzanne Tarrant seeks to integrate the deep healing power of the natural living world into her practice of psychotherapy, her role as Head of Staff Psychological Wellbeing for Hywel Dda University Health Board, and into her own daily life. She sees our relationship with nature, with ourselves and others as a central focus, through which we can overcome trauma and challenges and learn to live with fluidity and balance . More recently, Suzanne has been leading the Green Health agenda in her NHS organisation, supporting green space improvements and engaging leaders and staff in nature connection and the benefits of biophilic design.


The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s Green Space for Health Programme is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.