Patients in Nottingham could be prescribed canoeing and paddleboard sessions to improve their mental health.
Nearly £50,000 has been granted to the city from the Thriving Communities Fund so patients can make use of the Nottingham and Beeston canal. Doctors and health workers will be able to refer people to canal-based community projects, including activities on the water and canal-side gardening, thanks to ‘social prescribing’.
Social prescribing is where people are referred to community groups or statutory services by GPs or health professionals to aid their mental or general wellbeing.
The Canal and River Trust is helping to lead a coalition of local groups who will share the funding aimed at offering people activities to "boost their physical and mental health".
Activities available include canoeing and paddleboard sessions, gardening along the canal, volunteering opportunities and wellbeing walks. Photography courses, art lessons, cookery classes and communal meals will also be allowed once Coronavirus restrictions ease.
The Thriving Communities Fund is a result of a collaboration between the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Historic England, Natural England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Sport England, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.
Linny Beaumont, The Canal and River Trust's partnerships and external relationship manager, said: “Research tells us that spending time by water can help us to feel happier and healthier and we firmly believe that the canal, which runs for five miles through some of our most populated areas, is uniquely placed to help address some of the big health challenges faced in the city.
“We’re delighted to have secured this Thriving Communities funding, and to be working with such a talented and diverse partnership to give local people access to a range of activities which we really hope will give them the help they need.”
Dr Nicole Atkinson, a Nottingham-based GP, said: "There have been a number of studies done that identifies it really does improve the quality of somebody's life. It has significant benefits on their mental health and also to their physical wellbeing so much so that this approach has been rolled out across the country."
Pic credit: Canal and River Trust.