Everyone in Suffolk should be able to enjoy an area of natural greenspace close to where they live. Healing Woods is an exciting and ambitious initiative to create more natural woodland and greenspace across the county, but particularly where it is most needed, to help people benefit from being able to experience nature and support their health and wellbeing.
The initiative is being developed by Suffolk County Council in partnership with a number of organisations.
In a recent survey, more than 90% of the 500+ responses supported the idea of Healing Woods. 67% of those responding said that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on their mental health and well-being. See the full results of the survey.
Healing Woods will:
Improve the health and wellbeing of people in Suffolk through increasing their access to woodland and other natural greenspace
Evidence shows that contact with nature and access to natural greenspace can have a positive effect on people’s physical and mental health. The Covid-19 pandemic has, and will continue to have, serious and long-lasting impacts on people’s health, directly and indirectly, with consequences for years to come. Healing Woods will provide greater opportunity for people to access and benefit from woodland and other natural greenspace through engagement in a variety of ways, from helping in their creation through to using new or existing areas for enjoyment and reflection
Create spaces that by encouraging nature and the opportunity for people to experience it, provide a positive legacy from the devastating impact of the pandemic
The pandemic has affected people’s lives across Suffolk in a variety of different ways. For many, the ability to access and enjoy nature has been an important comfort and helped with their stress and anxiety during very challenging times. Healing Woods will represent a powerful, living reminder of the importance of nature and the natural world to our lives, as well as places where individuals and families that have been affected the most can be remembered
Increase access to woodland and natural greenspace where it is most needed
Whilst Suffolk is generally well endowed with accessible natural greenspace, there are inequalities in people’s opportunity to benefit from this. Barriers to people being able to access natural greenspace are not only physical but also cultural and linked to socio-economic factors. Healing Woods will reduce this inequality through creating new woodland or natural greenspace, or new opportunities to access or use existing woodland or natural greenspace, where it is most needed.
How can I get involved?
We would like to hear from communities who are interested in working with the Healing Woods partnership to explore what it will take to create a Healing Wood or other greenspace in their local area. We’re keen to work with a variety of different communities and places across Suffolk, including proposals for existing woods or greenspaces as well as create new ones.
If you have an idea that your community would like to put forward please contact us at HealingWoods@suffolk.gov.uk so that we can ask you for some initial information about this.
What help will be available?
We are at the stage of identifying some potential demonstration ‘Healing Woods’ to explore with those communities what support they need to put their ideas into practice. This will then help the Healing Woods partners identify the package of support needed and explore possible sources of funding to help deliver this.