A group of smiling people at community growing project RHS Bridgewater Hall standing on a path surrounded by lush green plants.

Dr Masanaga Yamawaki from Japan visited Greater Manchester to find out more about the Nature for Health project.

He is part of a neurology research team that is developing a green farm rehabilitation programme at a hospital in the Japanese city of Kyoto. The programme uses horticultural and agricultural activities as therapy for people with mental and physical ill health.

A smiling Dr Masanaga Yamawaki pictured against a backdrop of green trees and bushes at RHS Bridgewater Hall

Dr Masanaga Yamawaki at RHS Bridgewater Hall

The Japanese team wanted to learn from Greater Manchester’s Nature for Health programme. This looked at how to support people with mental ill health by referring them to nature-based activities, groups and organisations.

Nature for Health worked with partners to develop the infrastructure needed to support more nature-based groups and encourage diverse activities. It also supported professionals to refer people to the activies, and more people to use our natural spaces.

Dr Yamawaki’s visit was organised through the Nature for Health Network and the EU-funded Green Health Horizon project.

He visited RHS Bridgewater to find out how community food growing is being used to address mental and physical health issues, and reduce health inequalities.

It is hoped that this will be one of many opportunities to share Greater Manchester’s work, develop international partnerships and learn from others.

Nature for Health successes

Since the programme started in June 2021, Nature for Health has supported 1,082 people through 80 organisations. As well as connecting people to nature, it has benefited their mental and physical health.

More than 50 workforce training sessions have also taken place. Meanwhile, it has helped to create new programmes in Greater Manchester’s mental health trusts.

A Nature for Health Steering Group has also been established. This will help to secure long-term growth in the green sector and increase access to funding for activities and groups.

Find out more about Nature for Health

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