More than 100 people of all ages and abilities overcame personal hurdles at a tailored challenge event day at south London historic sites.

The event at Marble Hill and Ham House at Richmond was part of a unique community project – called heritage2health – to promote wellbeing and engagement among adults and children at risk of becoming socially isolated. Heritage2health is based in Tooting at the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly between Kingston University and St George's, University of London.

The event's participants from a range of health and social care organisations enjoyed activities including a treasure hunt designed to stimulate the senses, a mile-long river walk, a foot ferry river-crossing challenge, a chance to meet birds of prey, and a session making Venetian masks inspired by the day.

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, Richmond Young Carers, the Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre, Richmond Mencap, Kingston Mind, and Fern Croft residential care home.

This event was the latest in a series held by heritage2health since it was set up in 2005. Heritage2health promotes wellbeing and inclusion through bespoke therapeutic and motivational challenges at sites of historical significance and natural beauty. The challenges are designed to support recovery and resilience to illness and injury, build relationships between generations and cultures through shared learning, and support new community projects.

The project brings together the education, health, heritage, social, business and creative sectors, including groups such as the National Trust and English Heritage. Medical, healthcare, and social care students also take part and support participants on challenge days. Some of the participants have now been assisted into taking part in further education, community and volunteering projects. And heritage2health is being used as a model for other groups to use.

Heritage2health director Theresa Nash said: “ The day was a great success it was wonderful to see people from all ages, backgrounds and diverse needs truly coming together to learn, share and support one another.

“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, which creates a supportive network. This is the first step to develop trust between people so they can go onto develop other community projects.

“We were told it was impossible to bring people together of all ages, with diverse health and social issues to share this experience. However, we have found by using this approach it enriches the experience of all involved.”

The day was supported by grants from Lilly UK and HSBC, as well as student fundraising.

Find out more about heritage2health at