Prestwich Green walk feature at the COP26 exhibition

The Green Health Walk at the Prestwich site in the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation The NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) is presented in NHS England’s new photography exhibition, “Care for the future: providing the world’s first net-zero health service,” at COP26 – UN Conference.

The photo exhibition, captured by portrait photographer Justin Lambert, shows NHS staff from across the country – from pharmacists to surgeons, mental health professionals to health visitors – who have pioneered greener health initiatives for the benefit of their patients and the communities they serve.

The Prestwich Green health walk consists of a 20-minute route through the grounds, with seven different areas of interest to visit. These areas include a cultural heritage plantation, an allotment garden, a herb bed, a natural sculpture, habitat boxes and native forests.

There is a growing body of evidence showing that natural, outdoor spaces can improve mood and reduce stress levels. In addition, just one hour of walking a day can significantly improve overall well-being, especially if time is shared with others.

The tour was designed and built in 2020 by the Manchester-based environmental organization ‘Sow the City’, assisted by service users and staff from GMMH. The goal is to use environmental psychology to create a healing environment while promoting exercise, learning and socializing.

The protected green area also supports the Trust’s and the broader NHS’s environmental and sustainability goals, providing a natural habitat for local wildlife, mitigating climate change and delivering products to the hospital café.

Photographs of the Green Health Walk in action will be on display in the Blue Zone at the COP26 venue in Glasgow for the duration of the conference [31st October – 12th November], before moving on to the Newcastle NHS Hospital Trust in December and on to other NHS Trusts across the country during 2022.

Wayne Burrows, Specialist Service Network Matron at GMMH and coordinator of service user health migration activities, is in the exhibit. He said:

“Taking time in nature can have an incredibly positive impact on your mental health. Our Green Health Walk provides a soothing and nourishing experience for our service users, caregivers and staff. The space also provides a number of environmental benefits, offsets greenhouse gas emissions, generates local products and offers a natural habitat for wildlife.

“We have recently secured investments to more than double some of the walking features and will work with our service users, carers and staff to expand the project by 2022, build on its current success and expand the positive mental health and environmental benefits, it gives. .”

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK and accounts for 1 in 20 deaths. Reducing harmful carbon emissions will reduce the number of cases of cancer, heart disease and asthma. Tackling climate change will also prevent the growing health effects of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, and the disruption of care they cause. Last year, British heat waves claimed more than 2,500 lives.

As one of the world’s largest employers, contributing almost 5% of UK carbon emissions, the NHS can play a crucial role in supporting the UK Government’s climate goals.

Dr. Nick Watts, NHS Chief Sustainability Officer, said:

“A year after being the first healthcare service in the world to commit to zero, the NHS is still on track to reduce its admissions – by saving enough carbon to burn 1.7 million flights from London to New York – at the same time dealing with its most immediate threat in Covid-19.

“This exhibition pays tribute to the incredible work of NHS staff, who continue to lead the world in the fight against climate change, and create a healthier planet for our patients.”

Naomi Makin, Sustainability Manager at GMMH said:

“As a trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health is working hard to identify, manage and reduce its impact on the natural environment. Our electricity supplies can now be renewed, we focus on environmental excellence in the design of our new North Manchester Mental Health Unit, and our charging points for electric cars are being upgraded and expanded.

“At the same time, we are developing innovative programs to support the recovery of our service users’ mental health through natural therapies, including food cultivation and forestry; and our Green Health Walks are an integral part of this. Working in nature creates a sense of purpose and hope, and by dividing these experiences into groups, we feel a sense of belonging and well-being. ”

Green Health Walk tickets are available from The Curve Reception at Prestwich Hospital Site, Bury New Road, Prestwich, M25 3BL or visit www.gmmh.nhs.uk/green-health-walk.

Visitors to the NHS “Care for the Future: Delivery of the World’s First Net Zero Health Service” photography exhibition at COP26, including political leaders and their delegations from around the world, will discover how greener healthcare is beginning to transform all areas of healthcare, from the first climate-friendly birth through to reduce delivery time for vital medical supplies by boat and reduce harmful gases in one of the greenest operating rooms in the country.

The full exhibit and stories can be accessed digitally on the Greener NHS website from Monday 1st November. Search for “Greener NHS”. To find out more about this exhibition, please contact: greener.nhs@nhs.net.

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