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The Nature for Wellbeing project is being launched this Sunday – World Mental Health Day – with kids yoga, a nature hunt, creative nature art and more at Lister Steps at The Old Library in Old Swan.
The event will run for around 12 families at the Green Lane venue from 11.30am.
Nicola Mainwaring, founder and director of Strengthening Wellbeing Together CIC which has devised the project, says: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded £10,000 by the National Lottery, which will enable us to deliver free outdoor wellbeing activities and events for children and families at green spaces around Merseyside.”
Nature for Wellbeing has been created following concerns about people’s mental health following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nicola says: “We have had families approaching us to say that their wellbeing has suffered in the wake of Covid, that their children are feeling slightly anxious and that they would like to find ways to address this.
“We know from research that nature-connectedness and enjoying small tasks outside can really help.
“Our sessions give families the opportunity to make themselves feel better and do things to improve their quality of life. And we believe that paying attention to our wellbeing in this way is vital as we move forward after the challenges of the pandemic.”
And she adds: “We will also work with new parents and older people as part of this project.”
Strengthening Wellbeing Together is a small, but growing, Community Interest Company that aims to support the wellbeing and mental health of children and families throughout the region.
Having previously worked in education after gaining a degree in childhood and adolescent studies, Nicola began offering parent and child yoga, going on to provide mindfulness sessions too.
Strengthening Wellbeing Together was started in February 2020 after Nicola, a mother of one – she has an eight-year-old daughter Lois – realised that there was a need for greater positive support for all local families and their children.
“It was bad timing because Covid hit but also, I realise now, good timing,” says Nicola, who is studying for a Masters in positive psychology and wellbeing.
Support is given in a variety of ways. “For instance, we have recently delivered a project bringing free parent and baby sessions to venues across Merseyside to help support postnatal mental health after a very difficult period for new parents.”
Nature for Wellbeing sessions will take place in parks, community gardens, woodlands and green spaces like Springfield Park in Knotty Ash, Childwall Woods and Princes Park, and with the Mersey Forest School.
There will be nature clubs, little welly walks, yoga, wellbeing walks, outdoor crafts, storytime, and forest school activities; and there will be vegetable gardening – Strengthening Wellbeing Together has growing vegetable beds at Croxteth Community Gardens.
“The sessions will help families to take time out together away from screens, to connect with nature, enjoy our local parks and green spaces, and learn skills that help improve their wellbeing,” says Nicola. “They can focus on their strengths and resilience, and build positive relationships with others and our environment.”
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