Boost for mental health provision

Boost for mental health provision in the city

Coventry & Warwickshire Mind are pleased to announce that a partnership application with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) has secured £372,304 from the Big Lottery Fund to provide positive, engaging outdoor experiences for people experiencing poor mental health in Coventry.

The Environment and Me project (TEaM), which is a partnership between WWT, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind (CWM) and is supported by Coventry City Council, will work with 300 people experiencing mental ill health over three years. It will provide outdoor activities at allotment sites, gardens, woodlands, parks and nature reserves – giving people some much needed breathing space in the fresh air, whilst learning new skills, meeting new people and giving back to nature. The project builds on the already successful Gardening in Mind project that Coventry & Warwickshire Mind has delivered for a number of years supporting clients to feel better through gardening and nature and also the experience of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust who have more recently been delivering a project called “Go with The Flow”.

People will be able to self-refer or be formally referred (by their GP or health professional) to the project, which is set to start delivering sessions from May 2017. There is growing evidence that spending time being active outdoors can do us all the world of good both physically and mentally, but for those experiencing depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions the benefits can be even greater – providing a valuable coping mechanism to support them in managing and overcoming their illness.

Steven Hill, Director /Assistant CEO for Coventry and Warwickshire Mind said:

Having delivered Ecotherapy support for many years, we have seen first-hand the benefit that working outdoors can have for our clients Mental Health & Wellbeing. Individuals have told us that they feel less isolated, more confident and more able to manage their mental health. We are therefore excited to be able to continue to offer this support in partnership with WWT.

Anna Squires, Health and Skills Manager for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said:

The Trust is delighted to be able to offer more people experiencing mental ill health the opportunity to get outdoors and reap the rewards it can bring. So many mental health interventions are indoor based, and for some that setting doesn’t work. I know from my own experience of mental ill health that time outdoors really can help.

The sessions the project will offer will be varied, but each participant will be given time and support from WWT staff and CWM staff to explore their interests and develop their skills and confidence. The hope is that many will go on to volunteer in their own communities with Friends of Groups, community centres or even take up their own allotment.

The Big Lottery Fund grant and support from Coventry City Council is making this exciting project possible and giving people experiencing mental ill health a new opportunity in the city. A new year often marks a new start for people and for some that new start in 2017 could be a chance to be active outdoors and to feel better.

James Harcourt, Big Lottery Fund Deputy Director of Responsive Programmes, said:

It’s great to see organisations like Warwickshire Wildlife Trust bringing a positive change to communities. Projects like TEaM will give people in Coventry the opportunity to overcome barriers, learn new skills and improve their lives for the future.

The project will release further information in 2017 regarding the start date and the process of self-referral or referring clients to TEaM.