Wildlife Trust calls on health sector to develop a sustainable funding model for natural therapies | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Wildlife Trust calls on health sector to develop a sustainable funding model for natural therapies

Monday 16th May

Wildlife Trust calls on health sector to develop a sustainable funding model for natural therapies

Mental Health Awareness week is upon us (16-22nd May 2016), but for local award-winning mental health project -  Recovery - based at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley reserve, there is little to celebrate. The project, which won Environmental Community of the Year category at last year’s Nottingham Post Environmental Awards, is to be closed due to lack of funding.

The project, which is open to anyone in Bassetlaw with mental health issues, maintains the vegetable garden at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve and provides the bustling café there with fresh produce. Its activities range far beyond gardening, however, with bee-keeping, willow-weaving, tree-planting and other conservation activities all on the programme.

The benefits to participants are significant. Andy, who attends regularly, commented ‘I like to come and be active and do something useful. Better than sitting at home thinking about things’. The sessions provide a break from routine, and often from caring responsibilities, and a sociable and supportive working environment. Fresh air and exercise work their magic and the sense of satisfaction from having done a good day’s work is a boost to self-esteem for participants.

The project is highly regarded by local mental health professionals who make referrals in the knowledge that their own services are likely to be used less as a result, saving the NHS vital funding. Job-seekers may also be referred, and acquire new skills which can open up employment opportunities.

Dominic Schad, project worker since 2012 said ‘This is a small but hugely valuable project and its loss will be keenly felt by all who’ve been a part of it and supported it, as well as by those who rely on it. It’s difficult to take its closure lying down, so we’re actively seeking alternative funding.’

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Rob Fitzsimons said:

“Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is convinced that our nature reserves play a valuable role in supporting people’s well-being. Spending time in natural spaces is proven to be beneficial to people’s health and we’ve seen the positive impact that dedicated programmes such as our Recovery project can have on people’s lives. Unfortunately, whilst we’ve had great support from Bassetlaw Care Commissioning Group since our original project funding ended, the wider heath sector has failed to recognise the value that projects like Recovery deliver and has not yet developed a long-term funding model to support this type of support for patients.”

To mark Mental Health Awareness week, and to bring its work to a wider audience, the Recovery garden will be open to the public this coming Wednesday, 18th May, and Friday, 20th May between 11am and 12 noon and 2 to 3pm. Visitors should call at reception of the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, off the A638 North Road, near Retford, for directions.

Anyone interested in providing continuation funding for the programme should contact Rob Fitzsimons or Erin McDaid on 0115 958 8242.

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