How to help people come together and adapt, while maintaining physical distance?

Places matter to improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness. Places like parks, community hubs or museums can provide ‘safe’ spaces that reduce stigma and encourage authentic connections. The places and spaces an activity is held in, or part of, can give us a sense of meaning and identity that can impact our wellbeing. There is strong evidence that participatory arts, sport, and cultural activities can improve wellbeing when they:bring together participants with shared interests, experiences and values in the same physical spaces create opportunities for participants to maximise the meaning of places for themselvesensure inclusivity and are aware that potential divisions – such as class, gender, ethnicity, age and disability – can be reinforced through the place or space an activity is held in. Our attachment and connection to places can be enhanced by evoking memories for participants. This depends on the history of the place and its meaning for the person. Sensory stimulation – sights, sounds, smell, touch – plays an important role in this. Nature-based activities seem to be especially important to enhance the therapeutic and sensory benefits of physical activities.There is promising evidence on the importance of creating meaningful safe spaces for arts, sport, and cultural activities. Such safe spaces can reduce loneliness and increase wellbeing by challenging stigma and creating relationships who are free from personal criticism and harassment. Read more

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