Peninsula Forum – a successful event celebrating a decade of community solutions to benefit nature and heath

Posted on 1st July 2021

As the European Centre for Environment and Human Health celebrates its 10th anniversary, the second in our series of Peninsula Forum events showcased the work of academics and collaborating partners.

Discussion focused on the opportunities that the G7 summit, held in June, may offer in creating a thriving community united around our health and wellbeing and in balance with our natural environment.

Professor Ruth Garside opened the discussion, exploring community solutions to benefit nature and human health. The presentation set out the global challenges and policy context behind these areas, with Professor Garside explaining,

“These problems and the solutions to them are messy, they’re multiple and they interact, they’re transnational and trans-sectoral and they operate across all levels from the global to the local and the work of The Centre over the past 10 years has really been speaking to a number of these issues. Until recently, the value of the natural environment as a health asset was lacking in both health and environmental policy. The way that The Centre works which is both  interdisciplinary and collaborative has led to a paradigm shift in how health policy, environmental planning and public health practices harness the potential of natural environments to support health. “

Watch the full presentation here:

Professor Emma Bland also discussed the mutual benefits of local communities, environment and health coming together, the impact of projects such as Smartline and the real world outcomes this collaboration has achieved. Watch here:

The achievements of Smartline were discussed further in the session as an example of how policy and practice is being shaped by ECEHH’s research evidence. The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of epidemiologists, economists, geographers, mathematicians, data scientists, and sociologists.

Research activities focuses on residents from more than 200 homes that are owned and managed by Coastline Housing in Camborne, Illogan, Pool and Redruth in Cornwall. The evidence and learning gained from activities is providing valuable insight into people’s constraints, challenges and aspirations, predominantly in lower income areas. This knowledge is shared with enterprises, housing associations and policy makers to explore how better to target services and support people’s needs.

Mark England from Coastline Housing and Dr Richard Sharpe from Public Health Cornwall spoke with ECEHH’s Professor Karyn Morrisey to explain how the collaboration with the Smartline Project is shaping social policy to improve health and wellbeing.

From a local collaboration to an outline of ECEHH’s  international work, the message of Dr. Emily Haynes’ presentation was ‘Think global, act local’, as she discussed how grass roots engagement is having international impact, with case study example from Fijian colleagues. Watch here:

Concluding the session,  Professor Lora Fleming, Director of ECEHH described how the European Centre for Environment and Human Health is  influencing positive change shaping policy at local, national and international levels. Professor Fleming’s final thoughts focused on continued collaboration and shared learning,

“I think we need to think local and apply locally both in terms of taking our messages and approaches internationally but also us receiving lessons from other communities and individuals internationally and I would like to thank the Cornish community for working with us for over a decade, helping us to take the important issues for Cornwall and turning that into policy that can impact both at the local, national and international level.”

Watch here:

The next Peninsula Forum event, ‘Balancing Nature & Health for the Future’, will take  place on 6th October 10am to 12pm, with a Spotlight on Climate and other Environmental Change and Health. Sign up Here



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