There is growing evidence that engaging with history and our own local heritage promotes health and well-being and has a proactive effect on human health.
The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have exacerbated an already significant problem of physical and mental health issues globally as humans struggle to adapt to an increasingly uncertain and unpredictable future.
Social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, heart disease, obesity... the list goes on.
Working with the Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre NHS CCG, Lancashire County Council and local GPs, together with Dr Linda Monckton, Historic England's Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion Strategy, we are embarking upon developing a series of activities to improve the health and well-being of Kirkham residents through heritage-based activities.
This work will involve designing a Social Prescribing programme which connects people – via GPs and link workers – to specific activities in the community for practical and emotional support.
Social prescription helps people get more control over their healthcare, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:
Social prescribing links people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. For example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, healthy eating advice, cookery, local history research groups, handling historic artefacts, learning heritage skills and so on.
When social prescribing works well, people can easily be referred to link workers in their local area via GPs, pharmacies, hospital discharge teams etc as well as via public services such as the fire service, police and employment services.
With funding from Historic England, we can develop a range of opportunities and activities that will provide a varied pathway of meaningful interventions to improve health and wellbeing of local people.
Feasibility studies are now being carried out to help create a practical and costed model for delivery in Kirkham.
Fylde Borough Council has engaged the Helen Shearn Associates - a consultancy in arts, heritage, health and wellbeing - who are carrying out a feasibility study in relation to Kirkham's proposed HS HAZ Heritage, Health and Wellbeing Programme.
Helen spoke at a special National Academy For Social Prescribing webinar about the Kirkham project.
You can view this webinar here below:
For more information about Historic England’s work with health and well-being please visit https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/research/back-issues/wellbeing-and-the-historic-environment/