Reading with Nature at Calderstones Park


Last month a 12-week Reading with Nature programme came to an end at Calderstones Park, Liverpool. The programme was run in partnership with The Reader, who are based within the park. As pioneers of Shared Reading, the aim of the organisation is to build communities through reading great literature aloud, in turn improving wellbeing and reducing social isolation. The values shared between The Reader and Nature4Health provided a great foundation to work collaboratively on this programme. As ever, it was important to incorporate the benefits of nature into the sessions, and with the beautiful surroundings of Calderstones Park on offer there was an abundance of natural spaces for the participants to discover.

Over the 12 weeks the programme engaged a total of 44 participants, with at least 15 participants attending each week. Each week, participants were invited to read a different nature-based poem whilst exploring different areas of the park. As most participants were living with dementia, it was predicted that the opportunity for them to connect with nature may stimulate thoughts, feelings, and emotions based on previous experiences in the natural environment. One week the group read ‘When I am Among Trees’ by Mary Oliver whilst walking ‘among trees’ in the park. This facilitated some wonderful tales from the participants in attendance:

John, recalling his time working on ships in Canada said “There they had trees that were so enormous you had to run right around the bottom of the trunk!”

During a conversation about the magic of trees after walking past the 1000 year old Allerton Oak, one group member said he could imagine magical creatures living in the tree.

Overall the programme was a great success, with a special mention for Katie and her team of volunteers at The Reader for delivering such a wonderful service.


Health walks are a hit in Walton

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.


Park Life

Victoria Park

We’re loving this pic of the chaps from the Helena Housing men’s walking group. Each week they’re making their way around the wonderful green spaces in St.Helens – all keen to increase their┬álevel of activity, health choices and wellbeing. ┬áThis week the group paid a visit to Victoria Park and took ten to try out the new outdoor gym.

A walk in the park…

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It’s great to see how much our Nordic Walkers in Ellesmere Port have enjoyed their weekly sessions with Jo. Here are three of the gang being put through their paces for the last time before setting off to enjoy the surroundings of Whitby Park and Stanney Woods.