Nature's Health Service

The Scottish Government is going to commit £100,000 to innovative projects that will help expand the development of its woodlands as part of nature’s health service.

Channelled through the Forestry Commission Scotland, in partnership with the health sector, the funding will go to boost the use of woodlands and greenspace to help people build healthy, physical activity into their daily lives and to assist those recovering from mental and physical health problems.

New woodland-based projects will offer older people health improvement through environmental volunteering, while children will benefit from natural outdoor play. More health professionals are to be provided with guidance about how to use woodlands to promote health and treat illness. New guides to urban woodlands are also being prepared for the coming year.

The £100,000 funding has been earmarked on top of £200,000 already committed over the next three years. Environment Minister, Michael Russell says: ‘Creating a greener Scotland is intimately linked to a healthier Scotland.

‘There’s evidence that greenspace can encourage health-promoting physical activity, which helps in the fight against obesity, heart disease and good mental health because experiencing the natural environment plays a part in reducing stress levels and anxiety. It can also boost community cohesion by being a place where people can meet up and interact positively, both informally and through organised activities such as health walks.
‘The link between woodlands and health is a core part of the Forestry Commission Scotland’s work. We need to make sure that the benefits are spread across the whole of Scottish society. In particular, we need to ensure our work helps those in deprived areas, such as the young, older people, people living with disabilities and those from minority groups.’

Contact: Forestry Commission Scotland,
231 Corstorphine Road,
Edinburgh, EH12 7AT
Tel: +44 (0)131 334 0303

Family walking in urban woodland
near Drumchapel, Glasgow
Photo: © Isobel Cameron/ FC

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