Oxford City Council will bring together the city’s green space providers and healthcare professionals to discuss how the natural environment can help keep people healthy.
The new conference, called Oxford: Naturally Healthy, is a free event organised by the City Council’s Green and Blue Space Network. It will take place at Rose Hill Community Centre between 9.30am and 3.30pm tomorrow (17/5).
The aim of the conference is to raise awareness of the health benefits of being out in green space, including parks, public gardens and nature reserves, and explain how healthcare professionals can encourage the use of green space – a practice known as ‘green prescribing’ – to help Oxford residents.
Research has found that being in green space helps improve mood, and that exercising outdoors is more beneficial to health and wellbeing than exercising indoors.
Oxford City Council manages about 300 acres of parks and open spaces across the city, and delivers and supports a range of sports and recreational activity in Oxford’s green spaces, including health walks, Nordic walking and table tennis sessions.
In Oxford, there are more than 600 acres of public parks and gardens – or 5.4 per cent of the city. Across England, the average for towns and cities is 0.8 per cent.
Councillor Louise Upton, Executive Board Member for Healthy Oxford, said: “Oxford has a vast amount of green space in parks, gardens and nature reserves, which gives us a great opportunity to develop new and innovative ways of helping to improve health and wellbeing across the city.
“The inaugural Oxford: Naturally Healthy conference will not only share best practice in encouraging the use of green space for improving both mental and physical health, but it will also bring together local healthcare practitioners and green space providers to network and share ideas.”