The Nature Alliance
The Nature Alliance is a major new project funded by The Rothschild Foundation to support young people build and maintain resilience in their wellbeing. It will create a fully integrated nature, health and wellbeing service across Buckinghamshire, initially for young people under 25.
The Nature Alliance is a partnership of nature based organisations and will support ‘green prescribing’ in Buckinghamshire and lead the way in establishing nature-based health promotion and green care, first for young people, and subsequently adults. Building on Lindengate’s reputation as a leading green care provider and lead Tier Two mental health service provider to emerge from the Buckinghamshire Mental Health Response Group for Covid 19, The Nature Alliance will provide early help and targeted services in the form of specialised nature based activities.
Charlie Powell, Co-Founder and General Manager at Lindengate explains: “Lindengate is only 40% full at the moment but so many people with low to moderate mental health needs are already in the system, waiting weeks, if not months, for a ‘talking therapy’ referral like CBT or counselling. Frequently their mental health is deteriorating while they wait. The NHS can’t cope. The Nature Alliance can bridge the gap and offer some help now, particularly for young people, where the many volunteering opportunities are particularly important. Not only supporting their wellbeing, but also enabling them to learn new skills, get connected and keep healthy by spending time outdoors.”
Social Prescribers/Link Workers, and it is hoped many other referring services, will work with The Nature Alliance partners – Lindengate, BBOWT, Chiltern Rangers, Road Farm Countryways and Chiltern Society – to introduce young people to nature based activities. This referral option for GPs operates alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing for those people with mild to moderate mental health needs. The Nature Alliance will establish a “one stop shop – clearing house” for green based activities for commissioners and referrers. The development of a “passport” will allow ease of movement between activities for participants.
Gavin Johnson, Head of Conservation, Chiltern Society: “We are thrilled to be part of such an exciting and innovative project and are very much looking forward to working alongside the other partners and The Rothschild Foundation. Nature Alliance has enormous potential to improve the health of young people and the wider community and also support nature recovery in the Chilterns long into the future.”
Support for The Nature Alliance comes from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire Public Health Team, Bucks Mind and Trailblazers, Buckinghamshire Mental Health Support Teams, Primary Care Networks, Voluntary and Community Sector and Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning. The work of the partnerships across The Nature Alliance is linked to local, regional and national strategies for improving and sustaining our natural environment, enabling partners to support and improve their capacity in this area.
Angela Jessop, Transformation Manager and Social Prescribing Lead for Buckinghamshire CCG: “Social Prescribing (SP) has been identified as a key element to the NHS Long Term Plan to help integrate the gaps between the NHS and community-based services. In Buckinghamshire, the goal is to increase SP referrals from under 2,000 in 2020 to over 8,000 by 2024. For example, patients referred to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Services) wait to access appropriate mental health services such as counselling or CBT as demand is so much higher than supply. As our population lives longer than ever before, isolation and loneliness are an increasing challenge. Greencare and nature-based activities are a fundamental part of the support we need to tackle these societal challenges. I am very excited to champion this proposal and to include green social prescribing within the NHS service transformation.”
Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust: “The Trust are big supporters and users of green prescribing as an effective intervention in people’s health and well-being. Not only is this supported in how we offer interventions to residents in our community, it is also important for the health of my colleagues in the health and social care workforce. If one’s job is to care, then one’s first priority must be to look after the people looking after the people! I speak on behalf of my workforce of over six thousand colleagues in supporting this valuable initiative.”
Leona Forsyth, Grants Manager, The Rothschild Foundation: “The Rothschild Foundation is pleased to support the inception of Buckinghamshire’s first Nature Alliance. We value this collaborative approach which brings together the county’s best in green care. The partnership will create beneficial improvements for nature and for the health and well-being of people who value it.”
If you are interested in learning more about The Nature Alliance, please contact Anne Mills, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates will be released when we have news to share about Nature Alliance. As we progress and grow we will welcome other nature based organisations to join us.