Dundee Green Health Partnership launches to improve health and happiness

Dundee Green Health Partnership (DGHP) was launched today (Friday, 5 April) in the University of Dundee Botanic Garden. The DGHP aims to improve health and wellbeing by signposting to green initiatives and raising awareness about the positive impact that nature can have on people’s health.

This new Partnership is a collaboration between NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council, the voluntary sector, University of Dundee, Abertay University and local community initiatives to connect people and green spaces to deliver health benefits.  

NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald welcomed  Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing to the launch and said, “There is no doubt that there is a strong connection between green space and good mental and physical health.

“Parks, woodlands and open spaces make a real difference to how happy we feel. They also improve our immune system and encourage physical activity and social interaction. I hope the Green Health Partnership will help even more people to experience these benefits.”

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick said, "It is great to see Dundee taking the lead on developing new approaches to bringing physical activity and the outdoors together through the Green Health Partnership.  

"This project is a fantastic example of partnership working to achieve the same goal of improving the lives of the people of Dundee."

Neighbourhood Services Convener Councillor Kevin Cordell said, “I’m delighted to see a host of key partners in Dundee coming together to with a goal to use our wonderful outdoor spaces to improve the physical and mental health of people across the city.

“The Dundee Green Health Partnership will create new and innovative ways to encourage and support more people to get outside.

 “There are countless benefits that can be achieved through outdoor activity and contact with nature, including better mental health and well-being, through stress reduction, an improved mood and self-esteem.”

In order to further support nature-based initiatives, today also saw the launch of a pilot programme of ‘green health prescriptions’, which will initially be available from Lochee Health Centre, Whitfield Health Centre and Taybank Medical Centre. The three Dundee GP practices will discuss with patients if it is appropriate to offer a nature-based intervention as part of their treatment or as a preventative measure. The ‘green health prescriptions’ have been designed by NHS Tayside and will be printed on prescription paper to resemble a GP prescription.

Eileen Stuart, Head of People and Nature at Scottish Natural Heritage, said, “Our natural environment is an important resource for people's health and well-being and Dundee has lots of green spaces and places providing opportunities to breathe some fresh air into your life. Activities like walking, cycling, volunteering, or just sitting on a park bench, can help us cope with life's ups and downs. 

“The DGHP is one of four such partnerships that we have helped establish, and we hope that they will help to demonstrate how connecting people and nature can contribute to a healthier Scotland.”

Speaking about his personal experiences with a nature-based initiative, Daniel Cruickshank, said, “I joined a group of people in a ‘Branching Out’ programme run by the Countryside Rangers, Dundee City Council, which has been a great benefit for me. Branching Out is just one of the many nature-based interventions in Dundee which people can discuss with their doctor or health care professional as part of their care.”