COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS SUPPORT LOCAL RESIDENTS IN VISITING GREEN SPACES
The Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions needed to contain its spread, have greatly affected our physical and mental health. The physical and psychological health benefits of outdoor recreation in green spaces have been widely documented as an essential tool to combat distress and strengthen resilience, which is our ability to recover from difficult situations. Exposure to green spaces improves our physical strength, activates positive emotions, promotes social cohesion, and helps us to feel connected to the outside world. It is also an important complement to mental health support offered in primary care, such as through GP practices.
Being able to access green spaces is a crucial component to promote healthier lifestyle changes. These types of activities are regularly included in the Community Champions programme during school half-terms and holiday periods. A particular example are the visits organised throughout the year to Kew Gardens. Through the Community Access Scheme, local residents – including those who face physical, sensory, psychological, or social barriers – are supported to visit Kew Gardens and enjoy the amazing grounds and community events. These visits have been a constant source of wellbeing, enabling us to connect with nature and with each other.
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet outdoors in beautiful surroundings after such a long time in lockdown. It was our first time outdoors together with other family members and we enjoyed every minute!”
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