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Funding for project to develop nature-based activities

Education research

Publish date: April 9, 2022

A collaborative project which Edge Hill University has been working on has been awarded a £177,000 Arts and Humanities Research Council grant.

Rooted in Nature is an innovative programme to help understand how nature-based activities can improve health and wellbeing, led by Newcastle University in collaboration with Edge Hill University and Durham University.

Young people, youth workers, mental health professionals and academic researchers will come together to identify how nature-based activities can be scaled up to address health inequalities in economically-disadvantaged communities.

Dr Clare Woolhouse, Reader in Education at Edge Hill University, said: “Rooted in Nature will help us identify needs addressed by these activities, as well as challenges to scaling up to other areas across the north of England.

“Thanks to AHRC for the funding support, which will allow us to work collaboratively in strengthening nature-based programmes for children and young people. This could help us improve outcomes in areas which face health inequalities.”

Dr Clare Woolhouse

Dr Catherine El Zerbi at Newcastle University will lead the project working in collaboration with communities, and health partners to establish how cultural and natural interventions can be placed at the service of public health.

Rooted in Nature will examine scaling up a programme of nature-based activities for a diverse group of young people in Middlesbrough using arts-based methods to gain a better understanding of what they value about taking part in nature-based activities.

It will also analyse how activities can be used to improve health and wellbeing.

The funding award is part of an AHRC programme to explore strategies for scaling up small, locally-based approaches and to better understand how they can inform and influence system change.

Projects including Rooted in Nature will generate evidence to support the rollout of place-based approaches to creative health, growing an evidence base for positive change.

It is anticipated that these projects will pilot a wider research agenda to be launched later this year. This will enable this research to be developed further to enhance health outcomes for communities over a longer period.