This briefing provides an overview of evidence to support the engagement of people living in low-income areas in nature and the outdoors. It is part of Natural England’s ‘Included outside’ publication series that is based on a review of a broad range of literature related to inclusive nature engagement conducted by an expert team from the University of Sheffield.
This briefing highlights that the common reasons which can limit opportunities for people living in low-income areas to enjoy nature include: lack of available greenspace; prohibitive cost of accessing and spending time in natural environments; perceptions of greenspace as harmful for health and wellbeing because nearby greenspace is low quality or has poor air quality; lack of knowledge and information about nature spaces; feeling that greenspaces are ‘not designed for us’; and life pressures and other priorities.
The briefing then goes onto identify lessons from the evidence for supporting better access and meaningful inclusion. These include:
• Providing and resourcing multi-use nature space that can become part of ‘essential’ everyday activities;
• Offering facilitated support to overcome hesitancies about accessing and using nature spaces;
• Working collaboratively and in partnership with local communities and under-represented groups;
• Recognising that affordability is vital for encouraging people from low-income areas to engage with nature.
Three short case studies of interesting initiatives are then presented, as well as a range of readings and resources, for anyone seeking inspiration:
• National Trust: Sunflowers at Rhosili;
• London National Park City;
• Museum of English Rural Life, Reading.