‘Challenge event’ day builds bridges and tackles social isolation

H2H2More than 100 people of all ages and abilities overcame personal hurdles at a recent ‘challenge event’ day held at two historic sites in south London.

The event – at Marble Hill House and Ham House in Richmond – was staged by heritage2health, a unique community project based in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, aimed at promoting wellbeing and engagement among adults and children at risk of becoming socially isolated.

The day involved people with long-term health conditions such as brain injury, people with learning disabilities, older people, carers, and others at risk of social exclusion. Among the groups taking part were Tadworth Children’s Trust, Kingston Young Carers, the Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre, Kingston Mind and LD Residential Care.
H2H2Participants enjoyed activities including a treasure hunt designed to stimulate the senses, a mile river walk, a foot ferry river-crossing challenge, a chance to meet birds of prey and a session making Venetian masks.

This event was the latest in a series held by heritage2health since its creation in 2005. Heritage2health promotes wellbeing and social inclusion by staging therapeutic and motivational ‘challenge events’ at sites of historical significance and natural beauty. The challenges are designed to support recovery from, and resilience to, illness and injury; to build relationships between generations and cultures through shared learning; and to support new community projects. The project brings together professionals and students from the education, health, social care, business and creative sectors, and includes organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage.

Heritage2health director Theresa Nash said, “With h2h we create a bridge-building event between communities, universities, and diverse health and social care organisations, supporting people to work together. People come and share a journey, during which they help each other and create a supportive network. This is the first step in encouraging trust between people so they can go onto develop other community projects.
H2H3“We were told it was impossible to bring together people of all ages with diverse health and social issues to share this experience. However we’ve found that this approach enriches the experience of all involved. The day was a great success. It was wonderful to see people from all ages, backgrounds and diverse needs coming together to learn, share and support one another.”

The day was supported by pharmaceutical research and development firm Lilly UK, HSBC and fundraising by Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education students.

Find out more about heritage2health at