Nature4Health is a two year project which uses the power of the natural environment to reduce loneliness, social isolation and improve wellbeing. It is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and nearly £200,000 has been awarded for work in targeted communities across The Mersey Forest including Liverpool, Sefton and St.Helens.
Activities on offer include woodland walks, therapeutic gardening and practical conservation sessions to get the heart pumping, as well as the meditation technique of mindfulness in a natural setting. Sessions are targeted at adults and designed to be welcoming to complete beginners.
There are also opportunities for people to get involved in learning the skills needed to help out with managing the sessions, boosting their experience for the job market.
The Mersey Forest manages Nature4Health via the Community Forest Trust, working with a range of partners to run the activities. Liverpool John Moores University will be evaluating the outcomes to see how it impacts on people’s wellbeing.
This two year programme has benefited from our experience over the past six years. Between 2015 and 2018 we ran a three year project funded by The Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Programme to tackle health inequalities in targeted communities across The Mersey Forest. The programme provided health-promoting, enjoyable group activities for just under 2,000 participants in a green, therapeutic environment. We have put together a short on-line impact report to show the difference it has made to people’s lives.