This summer we’ve been running a series of woodland sessions aimed at people with low to mid-level mental health needs based in the community. We wanted to encourage people to get outside, spend some relaxing time in nature, meet other people and try new things.
We hoped that people would find out if being in nature could help them develop coping strategies for daily life.
This pilot project was run in association with Public Health: Bristol and Lawrence Weston Community Farm. Participants were told about the sessions by their GP and could attend free of charge.
Activities ranged from making elderflower cordial to whittling, learning about wildlife and trying out simple survival skills. Participants came up with ideas of what they wanted to do, and session leaders helped them to follow their interests by providing expertise and support.
Feedback at the end of the pilot was very positive. One participant said, “I no longer stare at the ground when walking about, instead I’ve learned from being here to look around at all the colours, remember tree names and maybe collect fallen leaves”.
They went on to say, “my family and boyfriend have noticed a big improvement in my depression and are always asking what I have done when I come home.”
We hope to expand the Forest of Avon Trust’s nature-based health and wellbeing projects in 2016, based on the interests and needs of different groups. Do get in touch if you are interested in working with us: firstname.lastname@example.org