Healthy City Week 2015: Wellbeing that doesn’t cost the earth
28th October 2015
Is Bristol a healthy city? Could we be doing more collaboratively, and if so, how? Are health and sustainability inextricably linked? With over 100 events across 10 days, Bristol’s very first Healthy City Week, October 10th-18th 2015, created a new platform for these important conversations across both the health and sustainability sectors – all the while demonstrating that health and wellbeing in Bristol need not cost the earth.
HEALTHY CITY WEEK 2015
Healthy City Week emerged from Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Health and Wellbeing Group as an opportunity to showcase local sustainability and healthcare initiatives during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. This enables the Green Capital Partnership to achieve its overall vision of making Bristol a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all, while achieving the Health and Wellbeing Group’s specific vision statement: “to show how sustainable living and personal health and happiness are related: how contributing to improvements in the global environment can make one healthier and happier and vice versa.”
“A fantastic opportunity to gain awareness of the local health and wellbeing initiatives in Bristol” HCW Attendee
Across the 10 days, more than 3,000 individuals engaged in over 100 events across Bristol – a concentration of health and wellbeing events including seminars, talks, taster sessions and workshops. The hashtag #HealthyBristol was used over 2,000 times by over 550 Twitter accounts in a fortnight alone, reaching potentially over 2 million accounts. What’s more, people are still using #HealthyBristol to spark conversations and comment on Bristol health and wellbeing. Join the conversation!
City Wide Events Encouraging A Healthier Lifestyle for Citizens
Aside from the numbers, it was clear that the wide range of events created strong impact on the ground. The full weight of a free, 10-day programme of events allowed Bristolians to attend multiple events in a short space of time, and receive a more rounded experience of the varied approaches to health, wellbeing and self-care.
Two workshop hubs provided full freedom for individuals to just pop in and learn or try something new. At the launch weekend, we worked with Love The Future to offer a workshop, talk or event every 30 minutes at Bristol’s Lab Space; while during the week, the Bristol Health Hub on Cotham Hill delivered over 30 workshops and taster sessions between Tuesday and Thursday.
“Great to see so many people engaged in discussion around health and thinking of it from different examples, for example, sustainable environment, connecting with nature, physical activity and bringing ideas together”
On Monday and Thursday afternoon, the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine launched Kitchen on Prescription: providing cooking demos, free samples and full recipes for busy shoppers outside John Wesley’s Chapel’s New Rooms, Broadmead. Seeing people take five minutes out on their Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to learn something new, or try a new food, was heartening. Many commented they had never tasted certain ingredients before but would look out for them; while those who stayed for Q&A with the chefs learned new information about how to keep the nutrition in their meals without compromising on price or convenience. To learn more about the projects, read Love The Future’s blog post on Kitchen on Prescription, and check back soon to watch the two seminar recordings.
“Great to have the opportunity to exchange information, to taste lovely food and to meet likeminded people. Already I have made
some significant changes in my personal and professional life”
Kitchen On Prescription Attendee
Healthy City Week Seminars: Creating an “Open Space” for Conversations
Healthy City Week successfully provided a cross-sectoral platform for conversations, collaborations and new connections, with events well-attended by both the health and sustainability sectors. The beautifully designed OpenSpace Bristol was our hub for daily seminars. The space was full for a talk by Dr. David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, speaking on the inherent links between the health and sustainability sectors, and how they could work together. We look forward to posting a recording of this event very soon.
Meanwhile, The West of England Nature Partnership’s event, “Naturally Healthy: why nature is good for our health and wellbeing”, highlighted the passion for this topic across a range of disciplines and areas, and provoked rich discussions between commissioners, local projects, planners and people working in public health.
“Professionally I feel more positive that constructive change can and is happening. Through the event I was able to meet other professionals which has opened up further collaboration”
These talks, as well as discussion events from Bristol City Council’s Healthy Urban Team, The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine, Bristol Health Partners, and SHINE (a Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team), all shared their aims and research with new audiences during the week. They highlighted a variety of themes: the role of a healthy urban environment; addressing the need to develop collaborative sustainable health solutions; and posing challenging questions about the decision-making, funding and resources needed to create healthier cities and citizens.
Green Prescribing – The Standout Theme at Healthy City Week
The most notable theme throughout Healthy City Week 2015 was the model of green and social prescribing. This is about connecting people to other, non-‘medical’ sources of support for their physical and mental health issues and conditions. Interventions such as effective neighbourhood events, or walks and volunteering in nature can positively reinforce traditional forms of medicine, with increasing evidence that in some cases, especially in mental health, doctors may find that this form of prescription just as effective.
The creation of Health and Wellbeing rather than emphasis on treatment – health rather than cure – is in line with the Green Capital Partnership vision of ‘a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all’, and the Health & Wellbeing Group’s vision statement that inspired the week. The events bringing together GPs, public health and NHS workers, clinical commissioning groups, patients, community leaders and sustainability experts, exploring how they could work together, have helped to raise the profile of green prescribing and move this narrative on in Bristol.
For more information on green prescribing, see this great video investigation on Inside Out West, available until the end of November in iPlayer, featuring Feed Bristol and Avon and Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts. The section starts at 10 minutes 30 seconds.
Healthy City Week’s Legacy
“The week helped me realise how organisations and people are willing to work together for positive outputs.”
Healthy City Week has put health and wellbeing more squarely on the map in Bristol, both for individuals and organisations, enabling citizens to achieve healthier lifestyle as part of a low carbon future city. The concept of #HealthyBristol is not that we are there already, but that we can work together to reinforce what we already do well in Bristol, and find ways of improving elsewhere.
Of course it could not be possible without the help of, and the work of our sponsors, partners and supporters, as well as the work of Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Health and Wellbeing group to put on this series of events at little to no cost.
If you have comments or feedback to give on Healthy City Week, or want to see it again in 2016, please let us know by filling in our feedback form! Share your thoughts and you could win a free massage!
If you couldn’t make any events, you can still see the programme here. All contributors regularly hold health and wellbeing events in Bristol, so why not contact an event organiser to see when they are running their next session?
- Feedback on Healthy City Week here.
- Continue to follow and contribute to #HealthyBristol on Twitter.
- Visit the Health and Wellbeing project action group .
- Healthy City Week emerged from Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Health and Wellbeing Group as an opportunity to showcase local sustainability and healthcare initiatives during Bristol’s year as European Green Capital.