Over the summer holidays at the Colliers Moss Common in St. Helens we invited the whole family down for a six week forest school programme. The family forest school offered an opportunity for young and old alike to engage in fun, self-led sessions, which included activities such as building dens, creating woodland art and cooking over fires. Activities were designed to develop the children’s confidence, whilst requiring the whole family to work as a team and test their practical skills, all in the comfort of the great outdoors. Take a look at some of the lovely responses!
I loved making the blackberry jam and the dream-catcher.
I enjoyed everything the most.
I like the swing and the seesaw that we made.
Earlier this year, adult participants at the Merseycare Life Rooms in Walton were offered a 12-week programme of Health Walks for the purpose of improving mental health and wellbeing. With walking being one of the easiest ways to get more active, people of all ages and ability came along to experience the health benefits of walking amongst nature. The walks also provided an opportunity for meeting new people and socialising in a fun and relaxed environment, leading to increased confidence about exploring local green spaces. Our walkers felt the programme helped them get out of the house, and were excited about visiting some of the wonderful green spaces on offer in the Walton area.
Through our ongoing partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, we were able to gain an in-depth understanding of how our walkers felt the programme was of benefit to them. Masters student, Steven Ward, visited the programme over a 10-week period, producing the promotional poster seen above highlighting the experiences of the walkers involved in the programme.
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!