A Natural Choices for Health and Wellbeing programme in Liverpool has boosted the wellbeing of those involved by 18%, a study has found.
The study, conducted by the University of Essex, also found that 80% of the projects involved in the programme reported increased physical activity among their achievements.
A total of 38 projects were funded by Liverpool PCT to improve health and wellbeing through green activities in Liverpool's most deprived communities in 2012.
The projects ranged from initiatives to transform derelict land into community gardens and allotments, to food-growing projects, to a writer's group which took inspiration from Liverpool's green spaces.
The programme was coordinated by The Mersey Forest and funded by Liverpool PCT. It employed 135 people, 867 volunteers and involved 100 partners. Over 3,200 people benefited from the projects.
Dave Antrobus, Lay Member of NHS Liverpool CCG governing body, and former board member of Liverpool PCT said "The study from the University of Essex on the Natural Choices project confirms what we already know – that our natural environment presents a fantastic opportunity to bring people together, create better neighbourhoods and significantly improve mental and physical health.
"Our hope is that Liverpool will become a city where health is a natural choice and that the Natural Choices programme will inspire new ways of working with communities to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing in the city."