DELIVERING PARKS AS HEALTH ASSETS
"IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOW THE COST OF EVERYTHING, BUT THE VALUE OF NOTHING"
Parks* and Open Spaces can be seen as a cost, or valued for their contribution to the health and wellbeing of society.
The Health Parks Initiative was developed to put your health and wellbeing at the centre of decisions and investments made about local Parks and Open Spaces, and to provide a model for the assessment and delivery of health promoting Parks and Open Spaces in Urban and Rural areas.
PROMOTING COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Scientific evidence support the use of appropriately designed Parks to provide a number of important health benefits:
- Promoting Physical Health: Reducing avoidable conditions and co-morbidities related to Obesity, CHD, Type 2 Diabetes, Strokes, some Cancers.
- Improving Mental Wellbeing: Alleviating Stress, Anxiety and Depression, Dementia.
- Strengthening Social Capital and cohesion; building social networks, and personal relationships to alleviate depression and anxiety.
- Improved function of the immune system.
- As a context for Health Promotion through Connecting, Education, Empowerment, Engagement, Volunteering and Exercise.
- Mitigating Environmental Risk Factors: Conditions related to Noise, Pollution, flooding, UV Radiation and temperature extremes.
- Reduced violence and aggression: a reduction in antisocial behaviour and incidence of crime in urban areas with green spaces.
- Reduced health inequalities: significant reductions in mortality and morbidity from all causes has been associated with greater areas and proximity of green space.
- Numerous economic benefits.
It has been estimated that in the UK Parks, Open Spaces and the Natural Environment save the NHS around £111 million per year based solely on a reduction in GP visits. Aggregated across the UK an estimated £34.2 billion worth of wellbeing benefits per year are delivered by frequent use of parks and green spaces. (Fields in Trust: Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces 2018).
THE HEALTH PARKS APP
The Parks for Health Assessment App allows local communities to assess, celebrate and improve their Parks, to optimise their use for health community initiatives, to improve accessibility, promote mental well being, encourage physical activity and mitigate environmental risk factors.
THE HEALTH PARKS STRATEGY FRAMEWORK
Valuing Parks and Open Spaces for their contribution to the prevention of ill-health, working with Parks Departments, the Framework allows the integrated participation of Public Health, Social Prescribing, Employers, Charities and Local Community Groups, to promote health and wellbeing across the community through the use and development of health based Parks and Open Spaces.
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*Parks and Open Spaces can include the wider natural environment, green infrastructure, Linear Parks to Metropolitan Parks, Local Open Spaces and smaller Pocket Parks. At Health Parks, we are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of our communities. We bring together qualifications and experience in Public Health and Landscape Design and Management to enable you to deliver health promoting Parks and Open Spaces.