Participants, through the help of the Cass Foundation, have recently been offered not one, not two, but three of the exciting nature based therapies as part of Nature4Health. Located at the Merseycare Life Rooms in Walton, participants were able to choose from Nordic Walking, Health Walks and Horticultural Therapy, as part of a 12 week programme, all aimed at improve their mental health and wellbeing. From what we’ve heard so far the project is a great success! Through increased community involvement some of the participants have noted reduced social isolation, and a greater connection to the people, and the world around them- that’s what Nature4Health is all about!
Our mindfulness with nature activities for the second year of the project are well under way – and we’ve got some great results! Mindfulness is a form of mediation proven to enhance cognitive and psychological skills, and improve mental well-being. Our participants came along to a session once a week held in various locations across The Mersey Forest, reconnecting with nature by submerging themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest. Our participants were over the moon with the results, some feeling a greater awareness and greater sense of calm and relaxation, ticking the boxes for our project goals!
Whitby Park has been taken over by our Nature4Health Health Walks. Our walkers are taking part in a short walk once a week, with the aim to embrace the outdoors and socialise with others in the group, in order to improve mental health and wellbeing. Engagement with the natural environment is proven to have a positive impact on physical and mental health, and walking is the easiest way to get involved. Working in close partnership with Brio Macmillan, our very own Suzanne from The Mersey Forest is leading the sessions, showing off the beautiful spots of Whitby Park. Our walkers haven’t been deterred by the rain so far and have been lucky to have some of the sessions in the glorious sunshine! All the walks are of course finished with tea, coffee, biscuits and always lots of laughter!
Calderstones Park, Liverpool, has been home to our Nature4Health project ‘Story Explorers’ over the last 12 weeks. In an exciting twist on health walks, our story explorers have come along once a week to take part in a Sunday morning adventure, through the trees and green spaces of the park. Created by The Reader Organisation, Storybarn is an interactive story-centre for young people to explore, share and discover their love of books. Explorers were given the opportunity to discover the great outdoors, learning about animal habitats, questioning how trees and plants grow and how the park changes with the seasons, all whilst keeping a healthy pace along the route. By getting children out of the house and engaging them with the natural world, the Story Explorers programme is proven to have had a direct positive impact on the children’s mental wellbeing, another success for Nature4Health!
This spring, Wolf Club, set up by Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation for young people with additional needs and disabilities, teamed up with Nature4Health. Come rain or shine, every week for 12 weeks they took to the gardens of Woolston Sixth Form College to take part in a Horticultural Therapy session. Horticultural Therapy is proven to improve cognitive abilities and social skills, and has left the Wolf Club bursting with green fingers! The project has even been taken to the next step, with the weekly sessions being accompanied by cookery lessons, in which the young adults are using their own produce to cook with. If that’s not a Nature4Health success story, we don’t know what is!