Dundee project prescribing green health to patients receives our first grant of the year

We have awarded our first grant from this year's Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund

Green health referral Dundee

A health-promoting Dundee project has become the first to receive a grant from our new round of Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund.

We awarded Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action (DVVA) over £21,000 to continue partnership work it started last year helping GPs and other health professionals prescribe green health activities delivered by Dundee’s third sector to patients.

Since the project began last April, over 300 Green Health Prescriptions have been issued which link to the green health directory holding around 60 weekly activities which has led to people walking, practicing tai chi and yoga in the park or taking-up or return to cycling, to name just a few.

The service is delivered by DVVA, through the existing Dial-OP Information Line service and in collaboration with the local Green Health Partnership.

The Green Health Partnership aims to make more use of Dundee’s outdoors for physical and mental health benefits as well as social wellbeing as part of Our Natural Health Service and works with local partners such as Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside, academics and a range of third sector organisations to help get local communities active and healthy.

The latest funding will allow a Green Health Development Officer to remain in post to continue matching interested patients with local nature-based activities and help overcome barriers to encourage people to participate in a more active lifestyle.

Lali Tudela from DVVA said: “Green Health Prescriptions have been developed by the Dundee Green Health Partnership in order to help connect NHS healthcare providers with local third sector nature-based interventions.

“Before the development of Green Health Prescriptions, NHS healthcare professionals were not able to link patients easily to local activities. Since the launch in April 2019, 304 Green Health Prescription referrals have been received and over 190 prescribers have signed up to the innovative initiative.

“As part of the prescriptions we do not just link people to nature-based activities but listen to what people want to do locally to get active and help make this happen, in partnership with others.

“As part of this, the Dundee Green Health Partnership and DVVA developed an eTrike and eBike project, ReDiscover Dundee, to enable the inactive to participate in cycling.

“So far there have been 25 led-rides and taster sessions organised through ReDiscover Dundee, with a total of 77 people attending one or more of the sessions, from beginners to advanced. As part of this, we also enable participants to use the eTrikes and eBikes for personal sustainable journeys, which has been especially helpful during the current pandemic, keeping people active and healthy.

It’s been fantastic to see the progression in people, from being terrified because they have not been on a bike in 50 years or feeling limited by their health condition, to having a much more positive response and enjoying cycling. It’s small changes like this that can lead to much greater, long-term change.

Our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund offers grants of up to £50,000 to projects across Scotland that promote walking, wheeling or cycling for short journeys and sustainable transport for longer trips. For the first time, grants can also support organisations that are encouraging staff to work from home, reducing the need to travel.

We relaunched the Open Fund, supported by Transport Scotland, last month making £2million available to public, community and third sector groups. The fund also supported the Green Health Prescriptions project in its first year alongside Scottish Natural Heritage and Dundee’s Common Good Fund.

Lali added: “The first year was all about testing something that had never been done before and it was amazing to forge these new relationships with the key partners within the Green Health Partnership, from medical professionals to third sector colleagues. Now we are looking forward to using our experience in this second year to help the project reach even more people.”

For more information about Green Health Prescriptions click here.

For more information about our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding and to apply click here.

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