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Planting seeds at local community project

Greener spaces, clearer minds

Posted on 28 February 2016

We all experience times in life when we feel anxious or stressed.

I mean, in today's world it’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes - I know I certainly have my moments.

For me, there is no better way to unclutter my mind and break out of my bubble of negativity than to throw on my bright pink wellies, head to the local fields with my dogs and take a long walk. Nothing beats the peaceful escapism that you experience from simply getting out in the fresh air, getting some exercise and leaving your stresses and troubles behind.

Benefits of green space to health and wellbeing

A new study published by Natural England reports on the positive effects that involvement in nature-based activities has on reducing stress, anxiety and depression as well as improving dementia-related symptoms.  

The benefits green spaces can have on health and wellbeing are also backed up by a Groundwork report setting out the findings of our eight-year Big Lottery funded Target: Wellbeing programme.

Making sure everyone has access to quality green spaces could and should be part of the solution to boosting the health and wellbeing of our communities.  

Transforming spaces, transforming lives

Groundwork recently announced our involvement in a national project set to transform outdoor spaces in care homes across the UK to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia. Of around a third of the 800,000 people with dementia in the UK living in care homes, many once held significant happy memories of their life working in the outdoors, which have now been lost due to the restrictions that dementia brings.

The project will give people living with dementia access to green spaces by creating pathways that will always return to the beginning, building memory beds filled with familiar flowers, scents and vibrant colours and creating seaside patches with beach huts and shells that will help to create treasured reminders of visits to the coast.

This is just one example of positive and proactive action that we know can actively improve the wellbeing of so many people who are living with dementia and provide them with an outlet to achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Volunteers developing green space

Access to green spaces and nature-based activities can have life-changing effects on the wellbeing of people of all ages and backgrounds.

Take Ray (below), who volunteered on Groundwork's Healthy Parks, Healthy Minds project. With responsibility for a range of horticultural activities including hedge laying and tree planting, Ray benefited from an increase in confidence, focus and a sense of purpose. This helped him to manage his schizophrenia better.

Ray in Target Wellbeing programme

It's an approach that works - so let's do all we can to support communities to lead greener and healthier lives.  

To find out how you can get involved in nature-based volunteering opportunities near you, you can contact your local trust.

Post by Beth Stafford, Digital Communications and Fundraising Assistant

Groundwork UK