Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust has been awarded £50,000 of funding from the Thriving Communities Fund, which supports projects that address issues people are facing due to the effects of Covid-19, and aims to create social initiatives that can help Northamptonshire residents stay happy and healthy.

As a result of this, a historic green space in Northampton will soon be home to a ‘Green Happy Café’, a safe place which will encourage social interaction and encourage local residents to keep a check on their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Chief executive of the Delapré Abbey Preservaton Trust, Richard Clinton, said: “We’re delighted to receive this funding to establish a social prescribing hub in a much-loved green space in Northamptonshire.

“This project will provide greater awareness of green social prescribing, and through a co-creation model it will deliver a range of activities and programmes to our communities and practitioners; connecting more people with nature and heritage, post-lockdown and for years to come.”

The attraction and green space will consist of walking routes, park activities and a wellbeing app, as the cafe aims to improve mental health awareness, as well as access to nature and the outdoors. There will be a focus on arts and culture experiences, community decision making, mindfulness, social relationships, exercise classes and volunteer training.

Other organisations such as Action for Happiness Northamptonshire, The General Practice Alliance Federation, Northampton Leisure Trust, Warts and All Theatre and the University of Northampton will work with the trust to help out with the project, which is aiming to reach and improve the health of up to 3,000 people through arts, culture, physical activities such as exercise, and the utilisation of green and heritage spaces. These are known as ‘The Ten Keys to Happier Living’.

The project hopes to empower people through person and community-centred approaches to health and wellbeing, as well as utilising and building on the community asset of Delapré Abbey and Park, hoping to give people more control over their health and wellbeing.

Clinical director of The General Practice Alliance Federation, Dr David Smart, said: “As a GP of 30 years I know the value of exercise in nature with others. The Ten Keys to Happier Living will really come alive in such a beautiful setting, and resources and courses developed can be shared with other green spaces across town.”

Activities for this project are expected to start in the Summer and will hopefully inspire the establishment of more Green Happy Cafés around the UK.