PARKS FOR HEALTH

JUSTIFYING THE INVESTMENT

“Scientific research demonstrates that parks play a central role in the prevention and treatment of avoidable ill-health. What has been needed to date is an objective, evidence-based toolkit to assess parks and green spaces against that evidence and to provide clear guidance on community initiatives, improvements and new interventions that can increase the health status of a park.
”We are hoping the free health parks survey will become a central component of our approach to parks here in London, in our aim to use them more and more within primary prevention and to reduce avoidable ill-health in our communities.”
— Tony Leach. CEO Parks for London

 IF WE VALUE IT, WE WILL INVEST IN IT

IF WE FAIL TO INVEST IN IT, YOU COULD LOSE IT

In addition to demonstrable health benefits for the community, there are sound reasons to optimise the use of Parks for health.

National Government and the NHS: To date, Parks and Green Spaces have remained an underused, and untapped resource within Primary Prevention. Potential reductions in the cost of clinical interventions justify investment in Parks, when set against the ongoing and increasing cost of treating avoidable medical conditions.

Local Councils: The costs of Adults and Social Care and Mental Health Services increase year on year. Embracing the principles behind the Five Ways to Wellbeing, the Parks for Health initiative provides a mechanism to reduce these costs, by increasing levels of physical activity, mental wellbeing and social integration within the community.

Charities, Friends Groups and Parish Councils: As an independent, objective and evidence based approach, the Parks for Health Strategies and supporting landscape proposals can strengthen the basis for funding bids to improve the health of local communities. It has also been demonstrated that property and business values around quality green spaces can be greater than those without this asset. Improving Parks for health can therefore bring direct economic benefit to a local area.

Parks Managers and Maintenance Costs: The Assessment model identifies opportunities to reduce the impacts of climate change and to enhance Biodiversity. In addition to health benefits, the creation of natural habitats can deliver reductions in the cost of ongoing maintenance, releasing capital for further enhancement to Parks and Green Spaces, and encouraging bees and other wildlife.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Social Prescribing: By working with Parks and Public Health, the Initiative identifies both existing opportunities to widen the impact of Social Prescribing, and Parks in which new Initiatives can be created. Social Prescribing has been demonstrated to reduce pressure on local GP Surgeries and deliver lasting health benefits to patients.

Developers: New Build and Refurbishment: The need to create sustainable environments optimising health, biodiversity and environmental benefit is required by Planning Guidance and Local Planning Policy. The refurbishment of existing housing, particularly in the more deprived communities, brings with it a greater responsibility to address the determinants of ill health in the local urban environment.

For new development, in addition to health benefits, it has been demonstrated that high quality Green Space can also have a positive impact on house prices. In addition to the proximity of schools and local facilities, those selecting a new home can be influenced by the quality of local parks and green spaces.

Professionals and Companies: Designing for health and delivering products and services for health, represent new business opportunities. The Health Assessments and Strategies provide a basis for better health based design, and identify products and services required by developers, Local Authorities, Parks Managers and Friend Groups to enhance their Green Spaces for health.

Additional Services: In addition to the Audit, Assessments, Strategies and Plans, Tisdall Associates are available to assist and advise on bespoke projects, to provide training for assessors, and contribute to the ongoing implementation of the Parks for Health initiative. As an experienced speaker, Richard Tisdall, Director of Tisdall Associates, has spoken on this subject area at a wide range of Conferences and events.

 

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