Thrive Edinburgh – Physical Activity and Greenspaces
To improve the mental health and wellbeing of people in Edinburgh by delivering a range of services and programmes to support the delivery of the Thrive Welcome Team and Thrive Collectives
The Thrive Physical Activity & Greenspaces Collective partners (ELGT, Edinburgh Leisure, SAMH & Cyrenians) have come together to support people experiencing poor mental health.
The aim being to prevent or delay the need for more intensive support by enabling people to develop their own meaningful activities using greenspaces. By providing these opportunities we will help people to stay well. For more information on Thrive Edinburgh see here
The initiative will involve working with our contacts in the different localities across the city to promote meaningful activities for people with mental health conditions through the use of their local greenspaces. We will be working with the Wellbeing Hub teams and other agencies to develop a process of referrals and information sharing. This will involve promoting the benefits of greenspace at community hubs including local GP practices and community centres to help engage with the hard to reach groups.
We are committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get active and connect with their natural environment to protect their physical and mental health.
Greenspaces provide health benefits, encourage physical activity, provide spaces for socialising, decrease noise and air pollution and improve immune function. Exposure to the natural environment is psychologically restorative and can protect against mood disorders, depression, anxiety and stress.
There will be weekly walking groups, running for up to one hour, in each of the localities which will be suitable for a range of abilities. Walking provides an accessible way to get active outdoors and increases social connections and facilitates peer support. It allows participants to connect with nature, to spot local wildlife, learn about native plants and experience the changing seasons. The walking groups are particularly suited to people new to physical activity or those who have had little exposure to outdoor activities. The programme will be run in small groups of approximately 12 people which will encourage the participants to gain new friendships. It will also help reduce isolation and provide timely and appropriate interventions which promote recovery. The routes will include sites with a heritage interest that can be used to help with cultural bridging. We are also keen to get volunteers involved who could become walk leaders.
There will be jogging groups, running for up to one hour, set up in each locality in 12 week blocks. Jogging is a great outdoor activity for people who are keen to improve their fitness outdoors and take it to the next level. It is a more vigorous form of exercise which encourages the body to release endorphins that help to combat stress and promote calmness.
There will be 8 week blocks of conservation activities, running for 2 hours per session, held 12 times per year. These will be spread across the localities and the programme will change with the seasons including practical activities such as path clearing and tree planting – widening access to nature and improving the biodiversity of local greenspaces. At the end of each programme, we will invite local community groups to introduce themselves and encourage the participants to join their local friends of parks group.
The activities would follow the award-winning Branching Out programme that has been running since 2010 which is recognised by mental health professionals as delivering successful interventions. These will be run in suitable local woodlands which offer a safer and accessible environment. Each session run for 3hrs which involves a range of activities including tree I.D., environmental art, green exercise and relaxation.
People will be referred onto the programmes which have a maximum of 12 participants. Once they have completed the programme as part of the celebration event we will invite local groups who offer regular activities to promote their work and encourage the participants to volunteer. We will encourage the participants to explore their local greenspaces and to take an active role in their local community. We would also signpost them to other community groups that they could join which will include friends of groups.
Funded by: Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership
Each year to deliver the following
- 96 Conservation sessions for 160 participants
- 48 Woodland (Branching Out) sessions for 48 participants
- 200 Walking sessions for 48 participants
- 96 Jogging sessions for 48 participants
- Deliver activities that encourage and build resilient communities by using local greenspaces
- Deliver meaningful activities that are convenient and easily accessible throughout the city.
- Enable participants to learn new skills to build their confidence
- Provide activities that are enjoyable and enable people to come together at their own pace in an open environment.
- Encourage people to lead healthier active lives through participating in physical activities for all abilities in their local greenspaces to help improve their self-esteem.
- Enabling participants to link up with local community groups so they can continue to participate sustainably