Health project in Camden could see GPs referring people for exercise in parks

Islington and Camden councils have won a £667,000 grant to make their parks and green spaces focal p

Islington and Camden councils have won a £667,000 grant to make their parks and green spaces focal points for improving peoples health. The launch took place in Caledonian Park. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

GPs could soon be referring people for exercise in Camden’s parks under a project designed to get more people active.

Islington and Camden councils will split a £667,000 grant from the National Trust and National Lottery Heritage Fund's Future Parks Initiative to make parks a focal point for improving people's health.

The Parks for Health project will see councils will work with the NHS over the next two years to get people in less affluent areas using the spaces.

The most affluent people in each borough live healthily for more than a decade longer than their more deprived neighbours. Parks will be re-imagined and early ideas for the project include people taking exercise on referral from doctors or under a "social prescribing" model. They could also be offered help on how to link up with park exercise groups and gardening clubs.

Sustainable Camden chief Cllr Adam Harrison said: "Many of these locations were originally created as a direct response to help address the needs of public health at the time.

"The Parks For Health project will build on this legacy, using parks as a base to help improve the health and wellbeing of our residents in conjuncture with local health professionals, volunteer groups and leisure providers."