Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) was established as a charity in 2011. CSH runs programmes benefiting people’s health and the environment, including setting up community-based schemes addressing the wider social determinants of wellbeing.

CSH has recently created a Green Health Route in Marston – a suburb of Oxford that is home to around 6,000 people but which lacks a centre for local people to meet as there is no community hall or equivalent facility. This situation has been exacerbated by the recent closure of the local Children’s Centre, which used to cater for 700 0-4 year olds and their carers, with the result that there is a definite gap in providing community activities for families with young children.

For parents and carers, social activities can help to build mutual friendships and support at a time when many, especially new, parents can feel overwhelmed or isolated. For the youngsters, there is an opportunity to play together whilst experiencing ‘the great outdoors’ – to build friendships, learn about nature and new ideas and to feel at home outside.

CSH will meet these urgent needs via a new Walk on the Wildside (WoW) project involving around 70 pre-school and 50 primary schoolchildren and around 100 parents and carers from all strands of the neighbourhood through staging a series of local outdoor celebrations. We are planning 10 sessions for pre-schoolers and three for schoolchildren. Each will feature activities in Marston’s Nature Park and a walk along CSH’s local Green Health Route. The Nature Park is a beautiful oasis of calm in this busy suburb and the Health Route passes through the park’s nature trail which is easily accessible to carers with toddlers in buggies or babies in prams.

Each of the activity sessions will include fun experiences such as leaf-gathering, building a den, making twig boats to sail across the pond and voyaging through the Nature Park to find tiny insects and creatures. The sessions will culminate with celebratory tea and biscuits and these social gatherings and their invigorating games, natural crafts, and lively adventures will inspire the youngsters (and their carers!) with a love of greenspaces, building healthy habits to last them well into the future.

CSH’s Project Officer is DBS-checked and is an experienced primary school teacher with many years’ experience of running activities for youngsters. She will produce promotional materials to share with community members via our existing networks, including local primary schools, a pre-school and an active online network of over 100 local families, to attract people to the events. We will also advertise the activities on the area’s community notice boards and at the doctor’s surgery, churches and local library. Our past activities have always been well-attended and popular and CSH has built a reputation for providing fun events locally.

The WoW project will build long-lasting cohesion in the local community as it will enable hundreds of people to forge new links with one another for their mutual benefit and enjoyment. It will involve school staff as volunteers in preparing and helping to run the sessions with the schoolchildren, create a fun, safe environment for people to improve their physical, mental and emotional health and boost their social interaction. For the pre-school children, the WoW project will help to instil practices and habits that support and enhance their learning, as well as their transition to school. For the schoolchildren, WoW will build their sense of belonging in a community, being curious and physically active and becoming confident to explore new opportunities.

It will also introduce youngsters to the joy of being outdoors and to the riches of nature on their doorstep. Studies show that children who visit greenspace tend to access the outdoors more regularly as they grow older, building a lifetime opportunity for connecting with nature to benefit their wellbeing and health.

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

Moment of Pride

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s work improves people’s health and wellbeing and cares for the environment. The Walk on the Wildside project contributes to these aims, enriches the lives of local youngsters and their families and builds our community's pride. That makes us all feel proud too.

Location: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom