In my role supporting the Nature Health Practice Network in the West of England, I chair a special interest group on Diversity and Inclusion in Nature and Health. We have some great discussions in this group, sharing successes of our work to challenge inequality of access to health benefits of green spaces.
St Paul’s Community Gardens
Today we had Tara Miran, a Kurdish-Iraqi resident of St Pauls and Community Engagement specialist for Bristol City Council talking about her wonderful work for community use of green spaces in the heart of Bristol.
Bristol Somali Youth Voice
Also part of the group is Mohamed Al Sadaqle of Bristol Somali Youth Voice, who speaks of the multiple layers of challenge during Covid for families in crowded tower block accommodation, where there are many unsupported mental health needs as well as autism, and no green space.
Sharing links and offers
We were able to make links between different members of the group: Carina, with a training in forest bathing who could offer a safe space in the Forest of Dean for Bristol groups to camp and use facilities to free; Jon, who trains Occupational Therapists at UWE and offered student volunteer time to help with the many tasks of managing community growing spaces; and Imayla, whose urban rural creative connections work has involved training people to be confident in doing their work outdoors.
Green Social Prescribing
There are wide scale developments happening around green social prescribing that will have a direct impact on the ground in coming months and years. Our group is here to make sure that communities of all backgrounds can create their own solutions within this. The work is linked to the community mental health framework and seeks to alleviate suffering through diverse approaches in nature. It is an exciting time to be part of creating the change we want to see.
Black, African & Asian Therapy Network – Beth Collier
After the meeting I caught up with two wonderful talks by Beth Collier, who puts so much nuance and understanding into describing our current situation, in which the health benefits of nature are still mostly felt by white people. I highly recommend listening to what she has to say if you have any curiosity about this. She is quite brilliant in saying what needs to be said in an accessible way.