An update on the meeting that took place on the 13th February to explore the idea of a ‘Norfolk Green Care’ initiative.

We were encouraged and excited by the enthusiastic response the idea received, and it was agreed that some sort of ‘network’ is needed to include all the activities discussed that connect with nature in some way, from the informal to the more organised and deliberately therapeutic.  Reflecting on the valuable input from those who attended, it became clear that there are a range of ways in which a network can help to develop and support Green Care around the county – which would include:

* Enabling projects to connect and explore potential working relationships

* Sharing expertise, resources and volunteers

* Coming together to develop expertise through training and events

* Inspiring and promoting the development of Green Care activities, including places where they don’t currently exist

* Enabling pathways for individuals to progress between different types and levels of Green Care

* Developing a set of values and practices which ensure those involved can be seen as meeting a     common set of standards, whilst recognising the variety of the activities being    promoted

* Bringing together and promoting research into the impact of Green Care so as to further its development

* Promoting sustainability by assisting with projects on how to be greener and evaluate their current impact to then make recommendations

We were keen to see these aims in the form of a ‘lattice’ or ‘mesh’ rather than a ‘hub’, with a small, central coordinating body that would primarily facilitate the connections between its ‘members’.  In this way it would ideally add value to what is already happening and not become a large, formal organisation seeking to control or direct those involved.  It is also important for us to recognise and work with existing networks and umbrella bodies that are developing their own databases to both work with the existing Green Care network and to promote Green Care activities through these bodies.

If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.