‘Engaging with Nature’ at the Nature Discovery Centre (NDC) in Thatcham is a two-year project run in conjunction with local community groups including Newbury charity Eight Bells for Mental Health.
The initiative - funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Tanner Trust – will enable 15 participants to take part in a 24-week programme of free nature therapy sessions at the NDC, supported by skilled staff and volunteers.
Participants will learn important nature conservation skills. Activities will include a seasonal conservation task such as brush clearance or habitat creation, and a nature-based learning task such as bird watching or wildlife identification. Craft and creative activities, including working with knots and den building are also available. Each week, participants will do campfire cooking.
Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) data shows 3.7%, or 4000 people aged 18-74 years old in West Berks, are in contact with secondary mental health services. Problems experienced by people with Mental Health issues are social exclusion, barriers to accessing health services, higher loneliness reporting, poorer physical health & increased mortality.