A new initiative called Heritage 4 Health is bringing together healthcare providers and heritage sites across Northern Ireland to improve community health and wellbeing. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the innovative programme aims to increase access to nature and local history through social prescribing.
Social prescribing enables healthcare professionals to refer patients to a range of local, non-clinical services that suit their needs.
The programme was developed by Northern Ireland Environment Link and the Healthy Living Centre Alliance. Early indicators highlight improvements in mood, social isolation and overall wellbeing. Healthcare staff have observed participants becoming more active and connected through taking part.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to facilitate connections between our healthcare partners and heritage sites to support community health,” said Beth Frazer, Heritage 4 Health Project Coordinator. “The programme shows that social prescribing, natural environment, local history and heritage sites can be powerful tools for improving wellbeing.” Kelley Hann Heritage 4 Health Project Coordinator.
“Heritage 4 Health is all about our belief in using Northern Ireland’s amazing natural and cultural resources to enrich lives, and this project absolutely demonstrates the potential that this has to improve people’s well-being” said Max Bryant, CEO of Northern Ireland Environment Link.
Tony Doherty, Regional Coordinator with the Healthy Living Centre Alliance, said that “the rationale behind Heritage 4 Health is to fuse personal health recovery with natural heritage recovery. We felt that, by combining the fields of health and heritage, we would attract interest and achieve positive health results. Progress thus far is proving very positive!”
The project has launched a 2 -part podcast hosted by Jason Burke of Historical Belfast. The episodes chronicle personal participant engagement while spotlighting the projects mission to enrich wellbeing through heritage and environmental engagement.
Over the next two episodes, Jason will discuss with the Coordinators how the programme utilises historical sites to improve participants’ health. We’ll hear first-hand from participants about their experiences engaging with nature and heritage to boost their overall wellbeing.
Listen now so you don’t miss the first podcast:
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