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New website promotes a 'Natural Health Service' for Badenoch and Strathspey residents

By Alasdair Fraser

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The great outdoors can be the route to good health.
The great outdoors can be the route to good health.

A new website promoted by NHS Highland is encouraging Badenoch and Strathspey folk to use the area’s wonderful outdoor spaces as a route to better health.

Launched by the Highland Green Health Partnership, the online service aims to motivate and support people in using the great outdoors to take small steps towards improving mental and physical health.

The initiative builds on the range of services that NHS Highland already supports including active travel and the wellbeing of colleagues and communities.

Thinkhealththinknature.scot allows internet visitors to easily search and source a wide range of activities, as well as finding walking paths and green spaces within their local area.

It also highlights local groups, green health events and initiatives that may be taking place on their doorstep.

The Highland Green Health Partnership is hosted by Cathy Steer, NHS Highland’s head of health improvement.

It is funded in part by a £250,000 grant of EU leader funding delivered by High Life Highland.

NHS Highland’s health improvement specialist Dan Jenkins said: “We are lucky in the Highlands that we do have a real wealth and variety of opportunities that help us to feel good in the outdoors and connect with nature.

“And we usually don’t need to travel far at all – nature is always very close to home.”

“The aim is to encourage small steps to improve personal health, with no boundaries on age or fitness level.

“Thinkhealththinknature.scot has a wide range of useful resources for the public, as well as for health practitioners.”

The website has been split into eight geographical areas of the Highlands, including Badenoch and Strathspey

This allows users to easily pinpoint activities available within their home area during a time where travel is still restricted.

Tania Alliod of Highlife Highland said: “We understand that exercising outdoors may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we want to encourage people to take small steps and make a positive change in their health and wellbeing.

“It could be anything from a walk to the local park to doing some windowsill gardening. These small, positive changes bring huge health benefits that improve over time.”

Future plans for the site include inviting local community initiatives and partnerships involved in green health activities to share their experiences and projects as ‘guest bloggers’ on the website.

Those interested in becoming a blogger, or listing their group or green health initiative on the website are encouraged to get in touch by emailing info@thinkhealththinknature.scot.

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