BRINGING WOODLANDS TO LIFE

Outdoor Health

A group of people at a woodland activity session

 

The Outdoor Health Project is a Welsh Government funded programme that supports health professionals to increase referrals to outdoor social prescribing for their patients.

Nurturing outdoor activity programmes are provided, connecting people with the natural environments within their local community. Activities are adapted to support the needs of the participants and are delivered by qualified and trained outdoor professionals who specialise in supporting people with their wellbeing.

The programmes are based with established providers in local communities to enable participants to continue with activities if they wish once their initial programme has finished.

This page contains more information about the project plus quick, practical guides on how to refer, what activities are provided in your area, and how to feedback to us about the project to improve the service.

 

What we do 

 

  • Work with outdoor providers, ensuring that they meet minimum standards in supporting people to enjoy the outdoors safely and improve their wellbeing
  • Support affiliated leaders in their ongoing professional development around wellbeing in the outdoors
  • Develop project boards to bring together best practices and new, workable frameworks between the healthcare system and the outdoor industry
  • Developing new qualifications in affiliation with outdoor leaders and the health board to formalise what is required of an outdoor health leader
  • Collect data from all our programmes that contribute to further understanding and research into ways that outdoor health programmes benefit people's wellbeing
  • Piloted a successful GP referral network in the Dyfi Biosphere through the Trywydd Iach project
  • Watch our inspiring and beautiful short films of the work taking place across Wales and the importance of green spaces for health and wellbeing.

 

How we support people referred to us

  

  • A point of contact to support people through the registration process and to address concerns such as issues around transport or social anxieties and to accompany participants to their first day on the programme
  • A closed group 6-week programme to support the development of social ties and confidence building
  • Connections with ongoing outdoor wellbeing activities to refer people to upon completion of the programme
  • A diverse array of programmes depending on needs plus connections with other organisations offering more adventurous activities for those that are ready for that.

What our research has found from our programmes

  

  • 91% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that participating in a Coed Lleol (Small Woods) programme made them feel happier
  • 70% participants evidenced increased wellbeing (Based on 79 participants completing pre and post programme Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale)
  • 52% of participants agreed or strongly agreed to doing more physical activity than they were doing before
  • Increased connection and use of nature long term (Heli Gittins 2021)
  • Feelings of reassurance, stability and “freedom from judgement” in the natural cycles (Heli Gittins 2021 and Ed Lord 2021).

An example six-week programme

Download our example six week programme to find out more about the kinds of activities we can offer the people you work with.

 

Get involved

We're keen to connect with organisations interested in getting involved in this project and want this to be as streamlined as possible to help you to help the people you work with.

If you require any more information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Refer someone

Refer someone to the Outdoor Health Project by filling in our quick referral form

Join our project board

Our aim for the Outdoor Health Project is to develop a framework through which to enable health services and outdoor providers to work together in a way that fosters mutual support, growth and collaboration whilst best serving the needs of service users.

To do this, we are in the process of developing an Outdoor Health Project Board for Gwynedd, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf to support the growth of this framework. The project board would consist of healthcare professionals, referral agencies, outdoor providers, and service users. The purpose of which would be to share experiences, learn from each other and in doing so, create an outdoor health prescribing system that works for everyone in Gwynedd.

Please download our project board information sheet to find out more, or get in touch.

Get in touch

The Outdoor Health Project currently runs in Gwynedd, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Get in touch with your local project officer to find out more.

Gwynedd

Lauren Wood
[email protected]
07458130616


Pembrokeshire

Nicki Price
[email protected]


Rhondda Cynon Taf

Elise Hughesw
[email protected]

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