Announcing the Forest Society Grants for 2023
30th Mar 2023
We are excited to announce the four projects and organisations, successful in the third round of Forest Society Grants, designed to support the health and wellbeing of residents and communities within the National Forest.
The fund was launched in 2021 and enables organisations to support more people to engage with natural spaces, with a specific focus this year on supporting mental health and enabling more young people to access nature.
The four projects selected are:
Peak Running CIC, who will continue to develop their current Trail Therapy sessions by training five more run leaders who will provide additional Trail Therapy sessions across the National Forest area, enabling more people to access these opportunities to support their mental health. A set of resources will be developed to support the new run leaders to make the most of the sessions they deliver and to support participants to better understand the benefits of taking part in Trail Therapy outside of the sessions.
Links will be developed with local GP surgeries within the National Forest area to offer the option of Trail Therapy through social prescription, and a model will be created whereby Trail Therapy will be available at no cost to remove barriers to taking part in the activity. The team at Peak Running will work in partnership with Swad Joggers, a thriving jogging group in Swadlincote and a member of the Jog Derbyshire Network, to support their users to take part in trail therapy, and to develop the skills of existing runners who may want to take on new responsibilities.
Bamboozle Theatre will build links with families across the National Forest who have children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, or autism, and engage them in immersive theatre sessions that have been developed throughout Bamboozles 15 years of experience.
Working with mainstream schools that require SEND support across the National Forest area, Bamboozle will deliver a number of participatory sessions in the run up to the Timber Festival, introducing the Bamboozle concept to new families. The participating families will be offered tickets to the Timber Festival, where they will be able to interact with the Bamboozle Backyard and Down to Earth sessions, helping offer a provision at the festival that is completely accessible for children with additional needs.
South Derbyshire District Council will deliver six forest school style sessions for young people within Swadlincote during the school holidays, enabling more young people to access green space and empowering them to develop a relationship with the space.
The sessions will increase the knowledge of participants about biodiversity and ecosystems and will build self-esteem and confidence and introduce the natural world to young people who are not typically able to access such a space, giving them the opportunity to develop new practical skills and support their mental wellbeing through their access to nature.
Finally, Buzzing Roots CIC will deliver three sessions within the National Forest to enable up to 90 participants from the Youth and Justice Charnwood Children and Family Wellbeing Service to interact with green spaces. Working particularly with young carers and SEND young people, the sessions will teach new skills and develop participants mental health and wellbeing through their attendance.
The sessions will deliver a number of workshops for participants, including working with a Beekeeper, yoga practitioner and an artist to develop the participants knowledge and skills to support their own mental health in the future. The young people will also engage with the natural site in which the activities are taking place, allowing them to explore an area typically unavailable to them, reaffirming their connection with nature, the National Forest, and its heritage.
The National Forest Company’s 25-year vision shows that only by working together will nature, society and the economy all thrive, creating a greener and healthier future. The Forest Society grants will help people get closer to nature to benefit their mental and physical health.
The projects will be delivered between April 2023 and March 2024, we look forward to seeing how they develop over the coming months and sharing updates as they progress.
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