Devon’s natural environment has huge potential for improving our health and wellbeing. Walking, cycling, swimming, just by being somewhere special and feeling happier and more connected to people – we can improve our health in lots of ways. On the beach, in the woods, bird watching or stargazing, we can all benefit by experiencing and appreciating the beauty of what’s around us.
Being naturally active is even more important for people whose health is not as good as it could be. Improving access is a must if we’re to harness Devon’s natural benefits and reduce inequalities in health. Devon provides endless opportunities for being ‘naturally active’, but many of us don’t benefit from the environment, particularly those over 65, those on low pay or unemployed, members of minority groups and people with disabilities or long term illness. Just 13% of adults in Devon regularly participate in sport or active recreation (including walking and cycling). This has to change.
Everyone in Devon has the opportunity, and the confidence, to be ‘naturally active’ in order to improve their health and wellbeing.
- Champion Devon’s natural environment as a way of promoting health equality and improving health
- Focus on:
- those at risk of, or suffering from, poor health, in order to reduce dependence on treatments and health services
those who do not currently engage with the natural environment.
children and young people, along with their families and schools
- Contribute to achieving health improvement measures set by Devon and Torbay Health and Wellbeing Boards
- Encourage environmental volunteering.
- Board lead: Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon’s Joint Executive Director of Public Health
- Executive lead: Hannah Colston – Hannah.Colston@activedevon.org – Active Devon
Devon Local Nature Partnership was heavily involved the recent South Region Sustainability and Health Network (SRSHN) conference. The event explored:
- how sustainable working is core to sustainability and transformation plans;
- evidence for the benefits of the natural environment to health and wellbeing;
- ways of integrating these benefits into service provision to support a more sustainable health and care system;
- case studies which demonstrate how nature-based health care is delivering real health and wellbeing benefits