Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Women's Work have a positive impact on women in the local community

A new report will be published by The Wildlife Trusts and Leeds Beckett University on Thursday 10th October which shows that prescribing contact with nature is excellent value for money.

It draws on 5 years’ research into Wildlife Trust projects – research which proves that taking part in nature programmes with the charity really helps to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

The report – Social return on investment analysis of the health and wellbeing impacts of Wildlife Trust programmes – calculates the social return on investment for two types of Wildlife Trust health and wellbeing projects and discovered a value of up to £8.50 for every pound invested.

Dom Higgins, nature and wellbeing manager at The Wildlife Trusts says:

“We want to see the concept of nature on prescription becoming a core part of NHS mental wellbeing programmes. This new report shows the enormous value of a natural health service. It’s also important to have more investment in Wildlife Trust outdoor volunteering which has been proven to improve mental, physical and social wellbeing.”

Carr Vale Nature Reserve, Guy Badham

Carr Vale Nature Reserve, Guy Badham

Derbyshire case study – Women’s Work

This summer, an outdoors with nature programme improved the lives and mental health of six vulnerable and disadvantaged Derbyshire women. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Women’s Work charity ran the 12 week programme to provide safe and welcoming activities. These included learning about local wildlife, creating more wildlife friendly environments in local parks and their own homes - making bee homes and bird boxes, short walks around Arboretum Park in Derby.

I am really benefitting from being outside for these sessions and learning new things

Thanks to the support of Derby City Council Parks team, the group were also given special access to the Arboretum wildlife garden and a safe and secure place for the participants to enjoy nature. At the end of three months, the group had built up enough confidence to take a train journey from Derby to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Whistle-stop Education Room in Matlock Bath and to learn more about wildlife around a campfire. Emma Wood, People Engagement Officer at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust designed the programme, ensuring activities supported health and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women in the area. The 12 sessions, also had to be flexible to allow clients to dip out of sessions if needed due to anxiety, ill health and caring responsibilities, whilst helping to build up confidence in taking part in activities outside. 

Emma said “We’re delighted to have worked with Woman’s work and see the women’s confidence grow. The power of nature and feeling secure outdoors, with some fun activities has made a measurable difference to wellbeing in just a few weeks. From a small and initially nervous group, we had some incredible feedback.

Rachel Sandford, Volunteer Coordinator at Women’s Work said: “We are interested in working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust because we believe that spending time outside – alone or with others -  really does benefit mental health”.