The Angling Trust has warmly welcomed coverage in The Guardian newspaper today about a scheme in Newcastle-upon-Tyne which involved GPs prescribing fishing as a tonic for patients suffering from stress and depression.
Angling is one of several activities which can be recommended by Doctors as a “social prescription”. Innovation charity Nesta has found that a majority of GPs are keen to find alternative ways of improving patients’ health and wellbeing without dishing out more and more medicines.
The news was published in the same week that the Angling Trust presented a dossier of evidence about the health benefits of angling to the Charity Commission as part of its ongoing campaign to get angling recognised as an activity which can qualify for charitable status. Although Sport England recognises and funds angling as a sport, the Charity Commission lists angling on its web site as an activity which it does not regard as a sport because it is not regarded as being healthy. The Angling Trust has had an exchange of correspondence with the Commission on this subject which has gone on for nearly four years.
Although there are many successful charities which use angling as part of their work, such as Get Hooked on Fishing, Casting for Recovery and Fishing for Heroes, their status is awarded on the basis of the public benefit for the specific groups involved, rather than for the benefits of angling to society.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: “The benefit of angling to the physical and mental health of its 3 million participants is far too often ignored and it is great to see The Guardian recognising the role it can play in transforming people’s lives. The Angling Trust has a range of programmes and campaigns to promote the value of angling to individuals and communities as part of our National Angling Strategy. We will continue to fight for greater recognition from organisations like the Charity Commission, which will help angling clubs and others access funding and make the best use of resources by benefitting from charitable status.”