Could Lanark turn the NHS ‘green’?

Aileen Campbell MSP and CCI worker during her visit
Aileen Campbell MSP and CCI worker during her visit

On the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service, could Lanark be the birthplace of a new ‘NHS’ – the NATURAL Health Service?

The Royal Burgh-based CCI (Clydesdale Community Initiatives) has for many years now carried out admirable public projects using a workforce with special needs.

Now it has been chosen as one of the organisations spearheading the introduction of the plan to create closer ties between health services and working in the ‘great outdoors’.

The Lanark organisation, based at what was once a farm on the outskirts of town, was judged almost perfect for this project given that many of its projects – including the Lanark Sensory Garden and the Carluke Market Square facelift – are carried out in the open air.

The government’s Scottish Natural Heritage chose CCI as the very first of four organisations which will be pathfinders for their new Natural Health Service, being organised locally by the Lanarkshire Green Health Partnership.

To mark the Partnership’s launch, Clydesdale MSP Aileen Campbell came along to the CCI base to plant a commemorative tree. She praised CCI’s record, which led to its choice as pioneers,

A spokesperson for the project said: “Evidence showing that being in nature is good for the body and soul has led to this new partnership to make the most of environmental assets in improving health in North and South Lanarkshire.

Bridget Finton, Policy and Advice Officer from Scottish Natural Heritage said: “It’s been great working with colleagues from across Lanarkshire and seeing the enthusiasm to make more use of the outdoors as ‘Our Natural Health Service’.

“The Green Health Partnership will raise the profile of physical and mental health benefits from ‘green exercise’ within the health sector, and show how connecting more people to green places can be part of the solution to a range of health and wellbeing issues.”