SEM is supporting the South East Asian Community Organisation ROSHNI with outdoor gear and equipment to facilitate and promote the culture of walking among women who though are keen to walk in the countryside and green spaces but find it difficult due to financial constraints.
Maxwell said, “Although there’s a drive to promote the Government’s Green Social Prescribing initiative of people being involved in activities in the outdoors with the view to improve health and wellbeing, especially their mental health, nonetheless, people from ethnic communities are unable to participate in green activities without the proper outdoor gear or kit.
He noted that it’s one thing advocating and sign posting people by GPs to undertake green activities but there also the resource issue. Maxwell argued that it is easy for people who are privileged not to see this as a barrier however, it is a serious structural constraint among the groups we work with especially considering elements of the weather. He went on to explain that not until these structural barriers are addressed access to our Natural Health Service as he describes it will become exactly the same as faced by ethnic minorities regarding our National Health Service.
The ROSHNI representative said most of their clients struggle to get descent outdoor gear and kit which militates against venturing into the greater outdoor spaces or ability to participate in gardening. She said; “SEM has been supporting ROSHNI to facilitate the exposure and engagement of its clients to access green spaces and the countryside”. She cited, for example, how the women who had participated in residential weekends organised by SEM have not stopped talking about their first lived experiences attending a residential since arrival in this country staying in Youth Hostels at Lose Hill Hall in the Peak District National Park and the Lea Green Centre, Matlock.