Green Care service models use natural environments, farms, gardens and animal assisted living to promote and maintain human well-being and quality of life. Over the past decade, Green Care activities have been actively developed and researched both nationally and internationally, and successful service experiments have been carried out, for example, in Ostrobothnia in the Natural Support for life (LuoNa 2017-2021) project coordinated by the University of Vaasa.
The need to expand and consolidate Green Care activities into various social and pedagogical services has emerged strongly from previous studies and pilot projects. Entrepreneurs need support in establishing contacts with social care actors in their area and other potential client organisations whose clients could benefit significantly from nature-based services. In Ostrobothnia, the growing challenges of mental health in particular have increased the need for new and effective forms of mental health rehabilitation support.
This project aims to respond to these needs by extending and deepening the development of local Green Care service models initiated in previous projects and by strengthening the region's knowledge and cooperation networks. A common vision will bring together the University of Vaasa, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, the regional Mielle Association for mental health promotion, the City of Vaasa, Green Care entrepreneurs and multi-professional networks in the region to jointly create cost-effective cross-sectoral solutions based on research, local knowledge and experience, which can be used after the end of the project.