Joining Forces to Show Health Benefits of Countryside
|Author: Louise Manders, CBC||Published: 29th June 2012 12:36|
Community leaders and professionals representing the public health and environmental sectors across Bedfordshire have committed to closer ties to promote the health benefits of accessing the countryside.
The pledge came at a conference organised by the Bedfordshire and Luton Green Infrastructure Consortium (GIC) that has received government funding to help build partnerships between the environmental and other sectors. Working more closely with the health sector is central to the Consortium's aspirations to be recognised nationally as a Local Nature Partnership.
At the conference, which was also supported by the Central Bedfordshire Together local partnership, participants agreed to work together to promote what the countryside has to offer. Activities such as walking, cycling and visiting country parks and nature areas provide a low cost alternative to other forms of exercise such as gyms and offering activities that various generations can enjoy together.
The important role the environment can play in improving public health is to be reflected in the emerging Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Central Bedfordshire. The aim is to back this up with evidence showing just how much of a difference to people's health countryside activities can make.
Jon Balaam Acting Chairman of the Green Infrastructure Consortium says, "This event proved how much we have in common with our partners and how much potential there is for joint working on projects which benefit the health and wellbeing of the people of Bedfordshire. We feel that this can be done whilst protecting and enhancing our very special natural environments."
Councillor Andrew Turner, Deputy Executive Member for Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council says, "With the passing of new legislation, not only is public health coming into councils but councils are becoming public health authorities.
"Our ambition for public health is to improve people's quality of life and build a healthy life expectancy. We want to get more people, more active, doing more in the community.
"This event was about beginning to join up the dots so that medical and other professionals involved in public health are able to direct people to healthy options and all environmental providers are equipped and prepared."
Bedfordshire and Luton Green Infrastructure Consortium is an informal partnership of local authorities, government agencies, and voluntary and community sector groups.
The role of the consortium is to:
- promote green infrastructure and advise on green infrastructure issues
- co-ordinate green infrastructure planning at a variety of scales
- support the funding and delivery of green infrastructure projects across Bedfordshire and Luton
(images courtesy of CBC)