The Idle Valley Ecominds Project aims to improve mental health and well-being by offering individuals the chance to get involved in a range of conservation, horticulture and wildlife gardening tasks. The Idle Valley Nature Reserve, on the outskirts of Retford, is a former gravel extraction site which is now being restored to wetland habitat, mixed grassland and woodland. The nature reserve provides a beautiful and inspirational setting in which to learn new skills and develop an understanding of wildlife conservation and horticulture.
We need your help to ensure future funding
Please spend 2 minutes watching a video. Then, if you think that ecotherapy is a great idea, please use a handy email template to ask your local Health and Wellbeing Board chair to champion ecotherapy in Nottinghamshire. Click here to read the full story...
If you have referred someone to us, or you are a family member or friend of someone who has come to our project, we are asking for your help in gathering some feedback.
Please could you take a moment to fill in and return this feedback form. It should only take a few minutes and will help us to develop the project and support future applications for funding. Thank you very much for your support.
Who is Ecominds for?
This project is open to anyone with direct experience of mental distress. One in four of us will experience mental health difficulties at some stage in our lives, and we aim to provide a friendly, safe place for people who may be feeling low and isolated as well as those with more long-term mental health problems. You can ask your GP, support worker or Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) etc to refer you, or pick up a self-referral form. Priority will be given to individuals living in the Bassetlaw area
Why get involved?
Meet people and gain confidence in a beautiful and inspiring natural setting. Through this project you will be supported to develop your skills and learn new ones; our aim is to help you to move on to further training, volunteering or work opportunities.
What is it all about?
Join us at Idle Valley Nature Reserve to unwind in the fresh air, get involved in activities or simply stand and gaze. Taking part in outdoor activities in a natural setting has been shown to improve mental wellbeing and reduce feelings of anger, stress, depression and tension.
What can you get out of it?
- Involvement in creating a new wildlife and horticulture garden
- Make new friends and be supported by people who have had similar experiences
- Gain confidence and learn new skills in gardening and wildlife conservation
- Help us design and build a shelter and workshop space
- Healthy exercise in the beautiful outdoors
- Home-grown organic vegetables, and the chance to learn how to cook them
- Art and craft workshops and projects such as willow-weaving
- Time and space to relax and unwind
- Accredited courses in conservation and horticulture
What support is available?
You will be supported by trained, understanding staff and volunteers, whose aim is to help and encourage you to make the most of your time with the project, whether short or long-term. We will work with you at your own pace.
This project is open to anyone with direct experience of mental distress; you do not need to have a formal diagnosis. To get involved you can either be referred by your GP or any health/social care practitioner, or you are welcome to complete a self-referral document. You can download referral documents from the ‘downloads’ page.
Ecominds is based at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Idle Valley Nature Reserve, near Retford.
Latest Ecominds News
Monday 9th December 2013
We need your help to spend 2 minutes watching a video. Then, if you think that ecotherapy is a great idea, please click on the link to ask your local health and wellbeing board chair to champion ecotherapy in Nottinghamshire.
Tuesday 18th September 2012
Watch on BBC iplayer until Sunday 23rd Sept - find out how Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust filled giant holes in the ground and transformed them into a tranquil haven for wildlife!
Thursday 26th July 2012
Sheffield Hallam University was on hand to help us find a solution for watering the Ecominds Garden and Nursery at Idle Valley Nature Reserve!
Thursday 21st June 2012
We are celebrating the successful winning of a huge £30,000 grant from the charity Mind, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund, which will go towards one of our key projects supporting mental health.
Tuesday 10th April 2012
We always like to tell you about the great variety of volunteering roles we have at the Wildlife Trust. A good way to do that is to put some of our volunteers under the spotlight, and find out about what they do to help us. Steve is one of the volunteers at our Ecominds project at Idle Valley Nature Reserve…
Wednesday 2nd November 2011
We are proud to announce that our Idle Valley Ecominds project has won a special award.
Wednesday 13th April 2011
Members of the public are invited to help shape a new project which aims to combat mental health problems through outdoor activities, at a meeting on 9th May.
Friday 18th February 2011
On 8th February we launched the Ecominds project at our Idle Valley Nature Reserve. Funded through Mind in association with the Big Lottery, this project aims to improve mental wellbeing through outdoor activity that benefits the environment and the local community.
Monday 7th February 2011
Idle Valley Ecominds Project begins: improving mental health though conservation, horticulture and wildlife gardening.
Ecominds photos from Flickr
Ecotherapy: an introduction
What is ecotherapy? This short film explains how using nature and the outdoors can improve mental wellbeing, particularly for people at risk of developing a mental health problem - or those who need support to manage an existing problem. Filmed at four Ecominds-funded projects in summer 2013.