9th April 2021
A new global project titled "Re-imagining Environments for Connection and Engagement: Testing Actions for Social Prescribing in Natural Spaces" (RECETAS) will address the loneliness created by the COVID-19 pandemic through interaction with nature in six cities in Europe, Latin America, and Australia.
RECETAS will address loneliness, a modifiable health condition that is known to shorten one’s lifespan and may be as dangerous to one’s health as smoking or obesity. In Europe alone, before COVID-19 pandemic, over 75 million European adults reported meeting with family and friends at most once per month and 30 million European adults frequently felt lonely.
Loneliness knows no geographic, economic, cultural, and social boundaries and affects all age groups. For urban dwellers, being nearby nature with social structures can improve health and mental well-being and reduce loneliness. Even under the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, people need time in nature for its healing benefits. Investments in nature-based solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure (GI) that address rapid urbanization and its adverse consequences on environmental systems in our cities can be harnessed for health and wellbeing even in times of health emergencies.
RECETAS explores loneliness through a transdisciplinary lens, integrating social, behavioral, health and natural sciences, and is grounded in participatory principles. It will use randomized controlled trials (RCT) and other epidemiologic, anthropological and health economic methods to test socially – and culturally – innovative nature-based social prescribing (NBSP) in six cities in Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The approach aims to improve upon real-world policy and practice to reduce loneliness by connecting people experiencing loneliness with helping professionals and extensive investments in NBS and GI, while alleviating pressures on stressed health care systems.
If successful, this project will systematically reduce loneliness; promote and sustain vibrant, socially-connected communities; and reduce health inequalities by connecting people to nature in meaningful ways.
On 16 and 17 October 2023, the ILC Global Alliance held a meeting in Tokyo, Japan, co-chaired by Julie Byles and Margaret Gilles. The attendees included representatives from ILCs in Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, the UK, and the USA as well as the Secretariat.
16 and 17 October 2023
In June / July this year, Prof. Jaco Hoffman, Prof. Vera Roos and Dr. Rayne Stroebel visited the International Longevity Centre (ILC) in Singapore as members of ILC South Africa. The visit aimed to share common themes around socio-gerontology and to learn from examples in Singapore to establish a community for successful ageing.
ILC South Africa is pleased to announce that Rayne Stroebel has joined its leadership team as an Executive Member. He serves alongside Professors Sebastiana Kalula and Jaco Hoffman, based at the University of Cape Town and North-West University, respectively, who are ILCSA’s Co-directors. Retired Professor Monica Ferreira remains Honorary President of ILCSA.