North Ayrshire Green Health Partnership - Annual report 2018/19 - Year 1
Our Natural Health Service is a national cross government initiative, led by NatureScot, which aims to create a step change in how the natural environment can be used, valued and protected as a precious resource which supports our health and wellbeing. The programme has three strategic interventions, one of which is Green Health Partnerships (GHP’s) which are taking a whole systems approach at a local level to making the most of our green spaces for public health benefits.
There is growing evidence which describes the many benefits of being outdoors in contact with nature. It not only motivates us to take more regular physical activity but also enables us to connect with and care about our local greenspaces and communities, therefore promoting social contact and intergenerational connections, tackling social isolation, and promoting sustainability. The natural environment also has restorative qualities and can help reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance recovery. However, not enough of us are making use of our outdoor spaces often enough to reap these benefits.
North Ayrshire has an abundance of fabulous green (and blue) spaces. We are lucky to have rural and urban green spaces, coastal communities, and islands on our doorstep. However, despite this, we have seen a downwards trend in the percentage of people who visit the outdoors regularly (once or more a week). This dropped from 71% in 2014 to 56% in 2017.
North Ayrshire Green Health Partnership (NAGHP) is one of four national GHP demonstration projects in Scotland who are working with their local communities to encourage people to spend more time outdoors in contact with nature every day through promoting green volunteering, pastimes, recreation, learning and active travel. We are also supporting local community groups and organisations to develop nature-based initiatives such as health walks, green gyms and community growing for everyone to enjoy; and exploring how these initiatives can support people who are in recovery or have a long term condition to live well.
This report outlines the key achievements of the NAGHP to date and the value that the partnership has brought to the delivery of green health activity locally.
Governance and Reporting
The NAGHP began in November 2017 following community and partner engagement and upon securing the support of the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and approval by the Community Planning Partnership (CPP). A multi-agency steering group was created which is accountable to the Active Communities Strategic Partnership. To date the NAGHP has:
Produced 1 GHP Proposal that: secured strategic support from the North Ayrshire CPP and the national ONHS Programme Board.
Established 1 multi-agency steering group, chaired by NHS Ayrshire and Arran (Public Health), which has membership from 11 different agencies/public bodies. It has met on 11 different occasions to progress the work of the NA GHP.
Secured governance through the Active Communities Strategic Partnership and attended 12 meetings to report on the NAGHP plans, activities and achievements.
Developed 1 Green Health Partnership Logic Model, 1 Action Plan and 1 Communications Plan.
Reported on progress and shared learning and practice nationally by attending approx.10 ONHS National meetings including operational, communications, and evaluation based meetings.
Mainstreaming NAGHP priorities in North Ayrshire Plans, Strategies and Commitments
The NAGHP steering group has been working to integrate green health activity and the work of the NAGHP into mainstream plans and strategies in North Ayrshire this includes:
Reporting 2 case studies (NAGHP and the Ayrshire Central Woodland Walk) in the North Ayrshire CPP Fair for All Annual Report.
Embedding 2 NAGHP actions in the North Ayrshire Healthy Weight Strategy and Physical Activity Work plan.
Including 2 actions relating to ONHS and the GHP in the Public Health Business Plan and the Public Health and Priorities Delivery Group Work plan (2018 – 2021).
Creating 1 Social Impact Pledge that NHS Ayrshire and Arran will continue to promote ONHS on its hospital sites.
Securing NHS Greenspace for health work within NHS Ayrshire and Arran Sustainability Work Plan and contributing to the greenspace element of the NHS Sustainability Assessment and Biodiversity Report.
The NAGHP has so far:
Been awarded approximately £150,000 of core GHP funding from Scottish Natural Heritage (on behalf of national ONHS partners) for years 1 and 2 of the project and an indication of funding for year 3.
Secured approximately £40K of additional funding from 2 sources (NHS Endowments, Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund) for a Healthy and Active Journeys Project Officer initiative.
Secured approximately £230K for delivery of green health programmes in North Ayrshire and a partner GHP in Dundee.
Aligned to this NHS Ayrshire &Arran has secured the following funding to support the roll out of the NHS Greenspace partnership work in North Ayrshire:
Secured approximately £120,000 of funding from 2 sources (Woodland In and Around Towns and NHS Endowments) for woodland management and paths creation at Ayrshire Central Hospital.
Secured approximately £66,000 of funding from the Sustrans Community Links fund to create a dual use pedestrian/ cycle path at the Ayrshire Central Hospital.
The NAGHP steering group:
Agreed collectively: what core staffing resource was needed to deliver the GHP in North Ayrshire and invited expressions of interest from partners on the steering group.
Supported a joint proposal from 2 partners for a Team Leader post employed by the Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and hosted by the Active North Ayrshire exercise referral team in KA Leisure.
Appointed 1 GHP Team leader post in August 2018.
Created and appointed 1 new Healthy Active Journeys Senior Project Officer post who will be managed by TCV.
Established in kind support from core staff in NHS Ayrshire and Arran (Public Health); KA Leisure and TCV to ensure a strategic overview and delivery of the programme.
Established in kind support from 3 third sector organisations (The Scottish Wildlife Trust, KA Leisure; and The Ayrshire Community Trust) and 1 public sector organisation (North Ayrshire Council’s Breaking Ground Project) to lead community based green health referral projects.
Further Developing Green Health Services and Initiatives
To help identify and support community based green health projects the NAGHP:
Mapped 81 Green Health projects across North Ayrshire which cover a range of activity from growing and gardening to nature conservation and walking and cycling.
Established and began delivery of 1 weekly TCV Green Gym based at Kilwinning library and walking activities in the Castlepark area taking in the newly developed woodland paths at Ayrshire Central Hospital (delivered by the Healthy Active Journeys post holder).
Delivered 5 Toddler Trot Sessions for 34 children and 18 adults across North Ayrshire.
Delivered 4 KA Leisure Fun Days incorporating walks and conservation activities.
Delivered 2 Nordic Walking taster Sessions and 1 Family Treasure Hunt for 19 children and 15 adults from our Child Healthy Weight Programme with The Trinity.
Created a Green Health Development Fund worth a total of £30K per annum.
Jointly delivered Participatory Budgeting (PB) events across 6 localities ultimately supporting 31 grass roots community groups to access Green Health Development funding to deliver activities in their local communities. Funding allocation was voted on by a total of over 500 people in the Kilwinning locality alone.
Promoted the NAGHP and the benefits of green health to over 2000 people at PB events via information stalls and engagement.
Established a Green Health Development Fund Sub-group to determine plans for the fund in 2019/20.
Shared our experiences of our PB work with 10 staff from Stirling Council who visited North Ayrshire and with colleagues across Ayrshire at a pan Ayrshire learning event.
In order to support our green health community projects to grow and develop the NAGHP:
Created 1 Green Health Network of over 70 community based green health projects who can share skills and knowledge with each other and receive support from GHP project staff (including the 31 projects who received Green Health Development funding in 2018/19).
Delivered 3 Green Health Network Events in 3 localities to date. 38 individuals, representing 20 different community groups have attended. Feedback has been gathered from attendees on topics including what training would be useful, how the development fund should be allocated in 2019/2020 and topics for discussion at future network events.
Delivered 1 community TCV Green Gym training session to 10 volunteers in the North Coast locality of North Ayrshire.
Developing green health referral pathways and effective signposting
To actively develop and promote green health referral for people in recovery or who have long term conditions as well as promote general signposting to green health projects in North Ayrshire the NAGHP:
Engaged with a range of partners via blogs, information sessions, presentations and meetings to promote the benefits of engaging in activity in the outdoors and the merits of green health referral through Active North Ayrshire and general signposting to green health activities across North Ayrshire’s communities. Target audiences included Allied Health Professionals, Active Living Becomes Achievable (ALBA), and Primary Care Community Link Workers.
Identified 4 green health referral projects delivering walking, conservation and growing activities who will be the first to receive referrals through the Active North Ayrshire programme. This might include people who are in recovery from a cardiac event or stroke, who have diabetes or are living with a long term condition.18 people have already expressed an interest in attending.
Established 1 Green Health Referral Service Provider’s Forum to generate learning from pilot referral pathways and support further development.
Delivered 4 active learning events where 10 KA Leisure Active North Ayrshire staff visited the green referral delivery projects on site to share learning about the activities being offered and how access to them.
Information and Communication
In order to actively communicate the benefits to health of being outdoors in contact with nature and the work of the NAGHP the steering group has:
Developed a GHP logo for use in all of our publications.
Created 1 NAGHP banner and 1 business card, 5000 will be distributed and used to promote the work of the GHP.
Purchased 1 NAGHP URL (www.nagreenhealth.org.uk) and created and promoted green health activities on our web pages which are hosted on the KA Leisure website.
Co-produced 2 leaflets with KA Leisure to promote the benefits of walking and green health referral projects and printed 4000 for distribution.
Created 1 new twitter account (@NAGreenHealth) which is updated regularly and has 157 followers.
Established a Facebook page which now has 266 followers. (@NAGreenHealth)
Created 1 NAGHP film featuring 9 staff from within the NAGHP and 14 green health project participants.
Co-produced 1 NAGHP animation with Scottish Natural Heritage.
Produced 1 Green Health Week press release with photos.
Delivered 1 radio broadcast on Irvine Beat to promote Green Health Week and the NAGHP.
Published 2 local blogs on the NHAGHP web pages and 1 national blog on the Public Health Reform website.
Campaigns and Events
Co-ordinated Green Health Week 2019 during which 11 different activities were offered across the week and during Green Health Day at Eglinton Country Park.
Supported the North Ayrshire Drop Everything And Move (DrEAM) approach to getting more people more active more often with a walk for staff at Ayrshire Central Hospital in October 2018.
Officially launched the Ayrshire Central Hospital Woodland walk with a staff nature walk and press release, which approximately 11 people attended.
Meetings, Seminars and Workshops
Attended 3 Locality Planning meetings in Irvine, Arran and Kilwinning and presented to around 50 people, to promote the NAGHP.
Presented to around 25 people at the HSCP Strategic Planning Group.
Presented to around 41 people at the NHS Ayrshire and Arran Health Improvement Team Meeting.
Attended the HSCP Healthy You Events attended by approximately 250 staff.
Contributed to 1 information sharing session with the Scottish Government to give an overview of Sport and Physical Activity Delivery across Ayrshire.
Engaged with around 10 individuals attending the KA Leisure Mind and Be Active health walk event, promoting the benefits of green health activity in maintaining good mental health.
Attended 1 Arran Community Network meeting attended by around 12 people.
Attended 1 Caring for Ayrshire Event attended by 93 staff.
Attended 1 Care about Physical Activity (CAPA) learning event to find out more about physical activity in the care home setting.
Presented to approximately 25 people at the North Ayrshire Macmillan Move More Networking event.
Regularly attended the North Ayrshire Healthy Weight Strategy, Move More, Physical Activity Work plan, Food Forum and DrEAM subgroup meetings.
Facilitated discussion groups with around 60 staff at the Mental Health and Wellbeing: Sharing Good Practice Event promoting green health activity and impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Presented at 1 Regional CPD event for approximately 25 Public Health Specialists.
Presented to approximately 30 people at the national Public Health Reform Whole System Steering Group.
Promoting Active Travel
Encouraging and supporting walking and cycling is an important part of the work of the NAGHP. As a partnership we are building on the work of our Active Travel Team in North Ayrshire Council by:
Funding 4 community walking programmes and heritage trails through our Green Health Development Fund.
Supporting local people to link with local services and facilities through our Healthy Active Journeys project.
Supporting NHS staff through bike maintenance sessions, walk leader training, a pool bike/e bike trial and input at NHS corporate induction.
Creating and promoting 3 new walking routes on ‘Plot a Route’ detailing time and distance through the new woodland path on site at Ayrshire Central Hospital to encourage staff to get more active at work outdoors in nature.
Featuring in 1 short film promoting the new dual use pedestrian/cycle path on site at Ayrshire Central Hospital which was funded by the Sustrans Community Links Programme.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Determining whether NAGHP has achieved its aims is important to us locally and to our national funders. We are just beginning to gather the data to tell the story of our partnership and the contribution we have made, however, we are already reflecting and can see some shoots of success. Green health is more prominent in some of our partnership plans and strategies and clinicians are beginning to refer patients who are in recovery or living with a long term condition into green health projects because they understand the benefits.
Our unloved public greenspaces around our hospitals, libraries, railway stations and schools are being brought back to life and used. The energy, skills and enthusiasm in our communities for delivering green health projects is being recognised and our communities have turned out in their hundreds to support our PB events and vote for their local green health projects. To capture this learning the NAGHP has so far:
Delivered 1 NAGHP evaluation workshop (facilitated by a NHS Ayrshire & Arran Senior Public Health Researcher).
Identified 5 questions around green health to be added to the CPP Peoples Panel Focus Groups.
Produced 1 local NAGHP evaluation framework and 1 logic model.
Contributed to 3 national ONHS evaluability and monitoring framework meetings.
Agreed to participate in a national GHP evaluation pilot from July to December 2019.
Produced by Elaine Caldow and Gillian Jennings (Public Health NHS Ayrshire & Arran) and Rebecca Strofton (The Conservation Volunteers) on behalf of The North Ayrshire Green Health Partnership.