Nature Connect aims to support people (over 18 years old) struggling with or at risk of low to moderate mental health conditions, in particular as a consequence of COVID, to become more resilient through contact with nature. This community project will take place in partnership with Norfolk Library Service, Norwich FarmShare, Bread Kitchen in Great Yarmouth and Gardening for Health allotments in Kings Lynn.
The project is based on the understanding that we are an integral part of nature. Building a new relationship with the “more-than-human" world, and engaging in activities that sustain our green spaces, makes for more resilient, connected individuals and communities.
The project will be based in three urban places:
- Norwich at Mile Cross Library with FarmShare and the surrounding area
- Kings Lynn at Kings Lynn Library, Gardening 4 Health Allotments and in other green spaces in the town centre
- Great Yarmouth and Gorleston - at the Central Library, the Bread Kitchen and other green spaces in the town
People can refer themselves to the project which will include the following elements:
- An on-line Resilience Workshop – facilitated by Chris Johnston, Author & Trainer for Resilience, Wellbeing and Active Hope.
- Growing skills – a six week “Crops in Pots” course for beginners and weekly “come and potter” sessions in various community settings
- Weekly Mindful walking and forest bathing opportunities (for better mental and physical health)
- Nature Connect workshops and groups – immersive and creative outdoor activities drawing on five key pathways to connecting with nature: the senses, emotions, beauty, meaning and compassion. These themes will be explored through activities such as ecotherapy, mindful reflection practices, nature-based creative arts and foraging.
- The project will have a fantastic legacy with an opportunity for participants to develop their own Nature Connect activity to benefit their community.
- Online catch-up groups –ongoing connection, themed discussions and activities, such as house-planting, for anybody who prefers to participate from home
Chris Draude, Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s Nature Connect Project Coordinator, explained: “We know that being in nature is fantastic for our mental health, but lots of us feel it only belongs to people who are “outdoorsy” or into gardening. We want to offer diverse opportunities for everyone to rediscover these benefits, in good company - whether that is through on-line house-planting or taking a leafy walk or dabbling in some local conservation.”
Amy Ross, Grower at Farmshare, shared: “Our vision is to support food systems that educate, connect and empower local communities to be healthier and more resilient, to be rooted to the land and to each other, and to experience a direct relationship with how our food is produced. Together with Norfolk and Waveney Mind we will turn Mile Cross Library Garden into a productive and beautiful place to get together and enjoy growing veg and community. Everyone is welcome in the garden no experience is needed, do as much or as little that suits you.”
Kerry Murray, Assistant Head of Service from Norfolk County Council Library Service remarked: “We are thrilled that our libraries will be part of this ground-breaking project exploring the connection between ourselves and nature, and the huge benefits it has for our deep sense of wellbeing and belonging.”
Professor Miles Richardson, lead on Nature Connectedness Research Group from University of Derby said: “We are thrilled to hear of the excellent work happening in Norfolk to bring people closer to nature and demonstrate the wellbeing benefits of nature connection. Uniting the wellbeing of people and nature is essential for a more sustainable future and this project is a great example of ways that can be done.”
For more information, please contact the Nature Connect Team at email@example.com