Happy and Healthy Communities: The Impact and Value of Being Active Outdoors
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to live, work and move differently, and to envisage a better, greener, and healthier future. The impact and value of the outdoors, particularly to health and wellbeing has never been so apparent and it is now essential that the outdoor recreation sector seizes the opportunity to champion its role in creating a healthier and happier society.
Being active outdoors as part of everyday life will benefit everyone in Northern Ireland – and the key to this is improving access to, participation in, and connection to nature. This will also deliver on Government priorities such as improving physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, the environment, and the economy.
The conference will share the latest research on the importance of walking and being active outdoors to health and wellbeing – and how the population of Northern Ireland has been engaging with the outdoors over the past year, the benefits gained, and the barriers faced. The event will also launch Outdoor Recreation NI’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025 that outlines how we will realise our vision ‘to create a happier, healthier society where enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoor improves wellbeing’.
Drawing on good practice, the conference will also showcase three examples of projects where a community’s access to, participation in, and connection to nature has increased and the impact that this has had. There will also be breakout rooms to enable participants to share their own insights, reflections, and experiences on enabling communities to be active outdoors.
The conference will include keynote speakers such as
- Shane O’Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research, Trinity College Dublin
- Aideen Martin, Head of Marketing and Participation, Outdoor Recreation NI
- Duncan Stewart, Managing Partner, 56 Degree Insight
- Dawson Stelfox MBE, Chairperson, Outdoor Recreation NI