Almost 40 Liverpool community groups came together recently to celebrate the achievements of the Natural Choices programme, which has seen them use the local environment to boost people's health.
A village-style "Grand Show", organised by The Mersey Forest at Liverpool Hope University, enabled the groups to proudly display the results of their hard work throughout this year, ranging from homegrown veg to flowers, and handicrafts to poems, all inspired by the natural environment.
The Natural Choices programme saw almost £300,000 of funding from Liverpool PCT directed to 38 community groups, enabling them to develop, grow and use the green spaces in their area to produce tangible health benefits for local residents.
The projects provided a range of services and tackled a range of issues in Liverpool – from helping people with learning disabilities to grow fresh fruit and vegetables, to creating community gardens for vulnerable people to enjoy, to protecting and maintaining local woodlands.
The funding came to an end in November, and the groups are now focussing on creating a legacy for the communities they have worked in.
The project has attracted national interest, with the University of Essex set to conduct a full evaluation of the project. The project was funded by Liverpool PCT as part of the Decade of Health and Wellbeing, and was coordinated and managed by The Mersey Forest.