Student wellbeing and connection to nature at the heart of project launch
Date: Tuesday 23rd May, 2023
Students at Wrexham Glyndwr University (WGU) discovered how to strengthen their overall wellbeing and feel more connected to their surroundings through nature at the launch event of a new social prescribing project.
The project called ‘Nature-based social prescribing to support student connectedness and wellbeing’, which has received funding to the tune of £400,000, will investigate how nature-based interventions for students can help to improve their wellbeing and feel more connected to the local community and its environment.
To officially launch the project, WGU students, staff and health providers from across Wrexham and Flintshire came together this week to find out more about local social prescribing, green health providers, as well as explore new ways to strengthen and maximise green health referrals.
The event featured a packed line-up of talks and activities on topics relating to the natural environment, health and wellbeing, including feed the future – which saw students and staff use fish and water instead of soil to grow plants; art and nature – using nature to make tools to create artwork; mindful movement in nature – which saw attendees undertake mindfulness through meditation; and a green university challenge, for staff and students to determine how green WGU is.
At the event, green health providers in attendance were also offered a funded place on WGU’s Green Social Prescribing short course, which is aimed at individuals who either practice as Social Prescribers, who would like to learn more about green social prescribing, what it is and how it works, as well as green health providers who would like to learn more about social prescribing.
The course looks at the determinants of health, how and why nature is beneficial for health, and professional skills such as motivational interviewing that can aid professional development.
Lynda Powell, Executive Director of Operations at WGU and Nature-based Social Prescribing Project Lead, said: “We were delighted to officially launch this important project to our wider university community this week at our special event. It’s fantastic for us to be working on a project which has so many benefits to student health and wellbeing.
“We all know that engaging with green spaces and nature-based activities can be incredibly beneficial for our physical, mental and social health and wellbeing – and our launch event provided a taster into some of these green activities, social prescribing, an introduction to green health providers, and how they can positively impact students.”
Working alongside the Wales School for Social Prescribing Research (WSSPR) based at the University of South Wales, Dr Sharon Wheeler, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Wellbeing at WGU, will be leading on the research findings from the project, which will aim to uncover ‘what matters now’ to students and how universities can get the most out of their green spaces.
Funding for the project was awarded by Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), as part of its Strategic Investment Fund.
The project is a collaborative with staff from across the university working with a variety of local organisations such as Natural Resources Wales, Coleg Cambria, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC), Groundwork North Wales and Wrexham County Borough Council.