People living in Nottingham may soon be prescribed an afternoon of paddleboarding, a wellbeing walk, or some canalside gardening, after a community project designed to make use of the Nottingham & Beeston Canal to help people tackle mental and physical health problems was awarded nearly £50,000.
The Thriving Communities project will focus on the canal to provide physical activity, art, heritage and other support to people referred through social prescribing pathways.
The project will give people living along the length of the canal, which runs from Nottingham to Beeston, access to a variety of activities to help boost their physical and mental health, including canoe and paddleboard sessions, gardening along the canal, volunteering opportunities and wellbeing walks. There will also be the opportunity to join photography courses, arts activities, cookery classes and, when coronavirus restrictions allow, communal meals at venues along the canal.
The project is being run by a partnership of local organisations including the Trust, Nottingham Community & Voluntary Service, Notts County Foundation, Canalside Heritage Centre, Nottingham Photographers Hub and local foodbank Himmah. Funding has been provided through the National Academy of Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England.
Linny Beaumont, our partnerships & external relationships manager, said: “Research tells us that spending time by water can help us to feel happier and healthier and we firmly believe that the canal, which runs for five miles through some of our most populated areas, is uniquely placed to help address some of the big health challenges faced in the city.
“We’re delighted to have secured this funding, and to be working with such a talented and diverse partnership to give local people access to a range of activities which we really hope will give them the help they need.”
Social prescribing is where GPs and other primary care professionals refer people to non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing. Typically this is done through a link worker who will connect people with local charities, services and community groups for practical and emotional support.
The Thriving Communities project complements work that we have already been doing around green social prescribing, having recently committed with Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Nottingham Integrated Care Partnership to fund a Community Wellbeing Coordinator to support the recently announced Green Social Prescribing project across the city and county.
Linny Beaumont continues: “With so many people living and working a stone’s throw from Nottinghamshire’s waterways we think they have a key role to play in increasing the amount of social prescribing taking place in the county. We’re looking forward to seeing more people getting out onto the water, and the towpath, as a way of improving their physical and mental health.”
More than 75,000 people in Nottingham live within 1km of a waterway and the Nottingham & Beeston Canal runs for five miles from Meadow Lane Lock near Trent Bridge to Beeston Lock.