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A group walking outside

Green Social Prescribing

Social prescribing is currently being implemented in the UK on a large scale as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. It involves the referral of patients from primary care to link workers, who aim to offer personalised support and address non-clinical concerns, usually by connecting individuals to community or third-sector organisations.

Building on a body of work on social prescribing and on walking groups and community gardening, Professor Tessa Pollard is now using ethnographic methods to explore green social prescribing. This form of social prescribing draws on the notion that taking part in activities in ‘nature’ is restorative and refers patients into ‘green’ activities, including walking and gardening.

Working with Kate Gibson at Newcastle University, Cassandra Phoenix, Emily Tupper, Laura McGuire and Sarah Atkinson at Durham University, Tessa is leading a project to explore entanglements of ‘nature’, health, wellbeing and policy in green social prescribing.

Key Social Prescribing Outputs:

Gibson K, Moffatt S, Pollard TM (2022) ‘He called me out of the blue’: An ethnographic exploration of contrasting temporalities in a social prescribing intervention. Sociology of Health and Illness 44: 1149-1166. 

Gibson K, Pollard TM, Moffatt S (2021) Social prescribing and classed inequality: a journey of upward health mobility?Social Science and Medicine 280: 114037.

Griffith B, Pollard TM, Gibson K, Jeffries J, Moffatt S (2023) Constituting link working through choice and care: an ethnographic account of front-line social prescribing. Sociology of Health and Illness 45: 279-297.


Community Gardening and Walking Group Outputs:

McGuire L, Morris SL, Pollard TM (2022) Community gardening and wellbeing: the understandings of organisers and implications for gardening for health. Health and Place 75: 102773

Morris S, Guell C, Pollard TM (2019) Group walking as a ‘lifeline’: understanding the place of outdoor walking groups in women’s live. Social Science and Medicine 238: 112489.

Pollard TM, Guell C, Morris SL (2020) Communal therapeutic mobility in group walking: a meta-ethnography. Social Science and Medicine 262: 113241.