Event links green space to health

A round-table event marking the conclusion of a two-year research programme into the use of green space in urban areas highlighted the link between health and open space.

Pilot project: Bridgend Allotment. Credit: Greenspace Scotland
Pilot project: Bridgend Allotment. Credit: Greenspace Scotland

Green-space project leaders met with politicians, health board staff and local authority officers to persuade them of the benefits of well-used public and community spaces.

The Demonstrating the Links research was presented by eight scheme leaders who have helped deliver horticulture projects across Scotland, but GreenSpace chief executive Paul Bramhill said he would be keen to see how the initiative could be applied nationally.

Bramhill added: "This kind of round table is very useful but it is sometimes easier to get the key players together in Scotland than it would be to get Westminster politicians involved."

The event, held in Stirling on 10 March, showed how green space can enhance the image of an area, encourage community cohesion, build skills and improve health.

Edinburgh-based Anne Jepson, who manages Bridgend Allotment Community Health Inclusion Pilot Project - run by Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian, with lottery funding - said: "We need hard, accessible evidence because at the moment there's an awful lot of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of green space."

She added that scientists and economists were more likely to be swayed by statistics that proved money could be saved on health costs, such as anti-depressant drugs, by the use of green spaces for projects like allotments.

The research programme has been carried out by Greenspace Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre.

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