For the last 4.5 years I have had the pleasure of working on this absolute dream of a project. I have really enjoyed supporting two sectors (health and nature/conservation) to come together, to learn from each other in order to develop nature based health interventions that have encouraged people to manage their own wellbeing by connecting with natural environments locally to them.
"I come away feeling content and very happy, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s given me confidence to do other things too - it’s acted like a snowball effect.”
Quote from participant
The overwhelmingly positive response we had from partners and participants has demonstrated the natural, intrinsic need people have to connect with nature, to help us feel our best. This project has allowed us to spend time encouraging partners in both sectors to continue to develop, shape and share this idea, inclusively, with communities in Somerset, focusing on reaching out to those who may struggle most to access such opportunities. In doing this, we are also encouraged people to spend more time outside, caring and giving back to natural environments and landscapes that are so important to our communities.
Across the 3 AONBs
2345 people engaged in the project 216 people took part in formal training
515 sessions taken place 10 volunteers regularly supporting the project
Many of the fantastic partners and volunteers we have worked with will continue to support projects developed during the last few years, which, on the Quantock Hills, includes our work with Greendays Day Care, Rydon Ward (Somerset Partnership), Children and Adolescence Mental Health Service (Somerset Partnership), Carry Me Kate and Mind in Somerset.
As part of the ‘next steps’ for this project over the past year or so, the three AONBs (Mendip, Blackdown and Quantock Hills) worked with Somerset Wildlife Trust to develop a successful National Lottery bid. This work will start in September and after going through an external recruitment process, I am excited to say that I will be taking on the Project Manager role. This will enable me to continue to develop this work in Somerset alongside others within the vibrant and varied nature and wellbeing sector we are lucky to have here, providing even more opportunities for people to get involved and feel better.