Organisations across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to come together to submit bids for local funding after the region secured £500,000 government funding for green social prescribing to improve the region’s mental health.

Image: Sow the City participants, who worked with Cornbrook Medical Practice in central Manchester to develop their grounds into an engaging space for growing, wildlife and relaxation.

Green social prescribing connects people with nature-based activities such as walking and cycling, community gardening and food-growing projects, as well as tasks such as tree planting.

The funding announcement comes as the Greater Manchester Mental Wellbeing Conversation Survey showed that people rated their current mental wellbeing poorly. On a scale of one to 10, people rated (on average) their happiness as 5.2, life satisfaction as 5.1 and anxiety as 5.6. When asked what would make their local area a place for positive wellbeing, one-third of the 4,000 GM residents who responded said that the most useful thing for their mental wellbeing is green open space.

Greater Manchester will be building on this need to improve our connection with, and access to, the natural world through two strands of work:

  1. Test and learn sites – funding is available for three to five ‘places’ across the region to pilot schemes that link people to green activities, and share their learning regionally and nationally. Applications for the local funding need to be voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) led, with partners including grass roots organisations. They should focus on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic and work at a local ‘place’ level.
  2. Region-wide initiatives – such as developing training and resources to help build momentum across all boroughs. Local organisations can also bid for this work. They must demonstrate how they will work in partnership across the region.

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