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Healthy Parks Healthy Minds

Healthy Parks Healthy Minds is a project which enables residents of South East Northumberland with severe and enduring mental health problems to engage in weekly supported environmental volunteering activities to improve skills and self-esteem. 

Participants carry out tasks such as footpath maintenance/creation, woodland management, countryside crafts, meadow management, food growing, and small scale construction projects such as building raised beds, bird boxes and timber fencing, closely supervised by Groundwork staff.

The project provides people with an opportunity to ‘give something back’, leading to a sense of pride, meaning and purpose. Green exercise and volunteer activity contributes towards general improved mental and physical wellbeing, providing an opportunity for social interaction, confidence building, increased fitness and reduced stress. Regular volunteering can help to create a positive weekly routine, enables the development of new skills and can help to prepare some people to progress to other volunteering opportunities or paid work.

Healthy Parks Healthy Minds is the continuation of an existing Ecominds funded project, delivered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria which came to an end in January 2012. The pilot’s success has been evidenced in an external evaluation carried out by the Peanut at Northumbria University and letters of support and thanks received from NHS and day care centre staff.

 Groundwork secured BIG Lottery Target: Wellbeing funding to deliver the project. Funding has been donated by Northumberland County Council towards the capital costs related to this project. In addition, Groundwork will be making an in-kind donation of the use of a minibus, tools and meeting rooms.

“Groundwork helps us to help our community around us with our projects. For me personally, it gives me a feeling of being part of a team that supports and encourages me through my mental health journey. For 6 hours a week on a Wednesday, I am not judged and I am made to feel equal. This is priceless to me”. Client, December, 2013

For more information contact James Stafford, Project Assistant on tel: 01670 514876 or email: james.stafford@groundwork.org.uk

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