Here’s PART 3 of the latest round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items issued by the partnership of Natural England, The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and Historic England on behalf of and for the Strategic Research Groups.  This supports the Strategic Research Groups for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.

RESOURCES

Sport England have recently released a number of resources based on their learning so far which they recommend partners consider, alongside existing guidance and learning from other organisations when developing interventions which aim to tackle inactivity. Tackling inactivity is one of the key areas of work that underpins their new strategy Towards an Active Nation.

House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee published oral evidence from the 14 November session about its inquiry into public parks. Evidence in the afternoon (from section Q90) was given by Dr Katy Layton-Jones (The Gardens Trust), Merrick Denton-Thompson OBE (President, Landscape Institute), Julia Thrift (Projects and Operations Director, Town and Country Planning Association) and James Harris (Policy and Networks Manager, Royal Town Planning Institute).

Landscape Institute recently published its position statement on ‘Public Health and Landscape; creating healthy places’. It mentions five principles of healthy places: “Healthy places improve air, water and soil quality, incorporating measures that help us adapt to, and where possible mitigate, climate change; Healthy places help overcome health inequalities and can promote healthy lifestyles; Healthy places make people feel comfortable and at ease, increasing social interaction and reducing anti-social behaviour, isolation and stress; Healthy places optimise opportunities for working, learning and development; Healthy places are restorative, uplifting and healing for both physical and mental health conditions.”

Public Health England Programme Director on Sustainability for Public Health Benefits Stephen Morton recently blogged about “Green space, mental wellbeing and sustainable communities”. He said: “We’ve known for some time that good quality natural landscape in urban areas can affect how people feel. It reduces stress and sadness, lifts the mood and makes us feel better. The benefits of these green and blues space, and the mechanisms by which they work, are varied….’

Guidance on effective interventions to promote healthy behaviours and cognitive health for older adultshas been published by Public Health England.

The slides from the Communicate 2016 Conference are now available to download including notes from Real World Visuals’ data visualisation session and The Next Generation.

The Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) project  have published their A-Z of co-design.
Co-design, or participatory design, is about the meaningful involvement of end users in the design process. The MMP project explores how places can be designed collaboratively to make older people’s experience of the environment easier and more meaningful.
Led by Catherine Ward-Thompson

CONFERENCES

European Insitutute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE)
Seminar:  Wednesday 28th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017
University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth,
Outdoor Atmospheres and Narratives: Connecting people to the world. Abstracts for oral and poster presentations, and practical workshops are now being accepted for EOE2017. Presentations and workshops from various disciplinary angles, across the themes, are welcome from researchers, practitioners and graduate students.

NEWS

The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health will take place on 13–15 June 2017 in Ostrava, Czechia. It will bring together health and environment ministers and high-level representatives of Member States in the WHO European Region, partner organizations, academia and civil society. Member States are expected to adopt a ministerial declaration, an implementation plan for its commitments and a reformed governance mechanism for the European Environment and Health Process.

Guardian article on public health and walking

Countryside Classroom have released releasing the latest survey they commissioned on behalf of all project partners. The research focussed on non-users of the resource to find out what they teach and what would make them more likely to engage.

Canal & River Trust (CRT) and People’s Postcode Lottery launched a competition inviting primary schools to design a habitat for wildlife “inspired by those found along the nation’s network of canals and rivers”. CRT said the competition, called ‘Corridor for Nature’, will help children to understand the importance of canals and rivers in providing vital habitats for nature. “Pupils will be encouraged to venture outside to survey the school grounds and maybe take inspiration from a visit to their local canal or river. They’ll then use their findings to design a waterway-inspired habitat. They can suggest themes for water and wet areas, make recommendations for wild flowers and hedgerows or design small structures for nesting animals.”

Link to a BBC article on a report that whilst Scotland has some of the best environments for outdoor play the children are some of the least active in the countries studied, reinforcing that the challenge is not just about availability.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation feature on Nature schools where children learn by roaming in the wild growing in popularity

Sport England is launching two new funding streams in January:

  • Opportunity Fund – £3 million for projects that create volunteering opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic people, women and disabled people, reaching into communities where there is higher unemployment and crime, lower education and poorer health.
  • Potentials Fund – support for volunteering opportunities for young people. Sport England will work with the #iwill campaign, investing up to £3m in projects which benefit 10 to 20-year-olds and their communities.