Thanks to a grant from 'Awards for All', the national lottery's Big Lottery fund, and the generosity of several other donors, The Centre for Sustainable Health Care has facilitated the setting up of a Green Health Route in Marston, a suburb of Oxford, to encourage local people to get outside and use and enjoy their greenspace. The route also enables local GPs to prescribe exercise to their patients. Medical research from around the world, collated by the University of Exeter, demonstrates that a 'Green Prescription' can deliver physiological and psychological benefits for patients. The evidence also shows that doctors are ready and willing to give 'Green Prescriptions', and that an effective partnership with other providers is required.
Marston, which is just outside the city centre, has many green spaces, parks, cycle paths and walks. The route highlights local greenspace and is easy to follow thanks to waymarker signs on lamp-posts and leaflets featuring the Route map being available at local hubs. The aim is that local GPs will be able to use the route to prescribe exercise, but local community groups, a retirement home and schools are already involved and using the space too. Of course, the route is also available for people who want to exercise independently at their own pace and at their preferred time.
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is also working with Go Active at Oxford City Council to encourage local residents to become volunteer health walk leaders, running weekly walks along the route.
To find out more, see the flyer attached.
**UPDATE** November 2015
CSH are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a fresh grant by the Big Lottery's Awards for All programme for a new project in Marston, running health walks with school children and producing inspirational nature-based materials for children and also for elderly people at a local care home. For more information see the documents attached below.
We have been working with local primary schools in 2015/6 taking the Ecocouncil members on the green health route and using their pictures and quiz questions to create tailored leaflets for each of the schools. These leaflets have been handed out to local families to encourage more people to use the route.
CSH staff also interviewed residents at a local care home, who were kind enough to share their reminiscences of their childhood nature walks with us. The Friends of New Marston Nature Reserve also kindly let us use some of their photos of local flora and fauna to feature on a series of flashcards to be used at the care home (and elsewhere). These will enable all of the residents to experience and enjoy Marston's outdoor gems, even if some of the elderly people are less able actually to travel to the green spaces. The flashcards are attached as an electronic version below.
CSH are very grateful to the Big Lottery's Awards for All programme for their support of this work.
**UPDATE UPDATE** April 2017
We are further pleased to say that we have secured further funding from the Big Lottery Fund's Celebrate programme to deliver a series of events along the green health route throughout 2017.
Celebrating the nature and seasonal diversity of Marston, this will feature a thematic programme of walks which include the Green Health Route and which provide an opportunity for people of all ages to come together and improve their wellbeing through contact with nature.
The first event met at the Sout Hut, 11.30am, on Tuesday 2nd May 2017. This involved a health walk including a range of members from the local community including those who regularly attend the OVer 50s club and members of the community with young children. The event was attended by 20 people followed by a bring and share lunch.
On the 20th July 2017 the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare took out St Michael's Primary School on a walk around the Marston Green Health Route. This involved all classes in the school and parents too, around 200 members of the locla community took part in the walk. A series of afternoon workshops based on conserving swifts in the local habitat was run at the school with all of the classes.
In September, CSH worked with children at a local school and their parents, linking in with the locality topic. A walk with a treasure hunt was created and around 30 people attended.
Our final event at the end of October, celebrated the nature in our local environment and engaged St Nick's school whist is in Marston. The children of both the Year 2 classes took part in a swift workshop and learnt about features of the natural world. 60 children took part in these activities.