There is overwhelming evidence that accessible green spaces have a positive impact on mental and physical health, both as a preventative measure and as a treatment. With the proportion of Welsh Government’s budget spent on health growing every year, and with mental health problems costing an estimated £7.2 billion a year, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a need to bring co-ordinated green volunteering into Wales’ mainstream health provision.

But green spaces are not only of benefit to us. Creating a biodiverse haven where nature can flourish feeds into the wider global initiative to combat the climate emergency.

We want the next Government of Wales:

  1. To support the creation of a ‘natural’ health service, embedding green volunteering in mainstream healthcare, supported through long-term public sector investment.
  2. To introduce legal protection for public owned parks and green spaces and introduce a statutory duty to manage these to a Green Flag standard by 2025.
  3. To recognise the impact of additional costs for visitor destinations and consider the introduction of a levy on visitor accommodation / services to support and promote protection of the local natural environment.
  4. To commit to investing in programmes which deliver accessible green spaces for everybody.
  5. To commit to long-term financial support for volunteering, enabling skills development and job opportunities.