Love nature, love you was a weekly group for adults to come together and experience nature and the outdoors. We targeted more isolated people within South Tyneside, people who may not normally access health services and have had problems with their mental health.

It was for adults who were looking to take more responsibility of their own health but may be struggling to start their journey.

The activities focused on learning new outdoor skills such as garden design and maintenance, outdoor woodwork, habitat creation, wood carving, campfire cooking and natural arts and crafts.

South Tyneside has a high number of cases of people suffering with their mental health and also their physical health too.

This was a friendly, low impact programme that helped people to choose a better lifestyle for themselves but also meet people and have fun at the same time.

It removed current barriers that some people have to improve their lifestyle and become healthier and happier in themselves.

“I have been so lucky to have taken part I the “women in nature” and the “love nature love you” projects. I took early retirement from a very successful teaching career due to ill health, stress and anxiety. This made me less confident, a sense of failure and I withdrew from social situations altogether. The relaxed atmosphere and natural surroundings of the garden helped me to relax and feel at ease. It is a haven in the midst of a vast housing estate, and is full of plants and bird song. It gave me a safe space to interact with other women with similar problems.

The planned activities such as making willow bird feeders were really well done and gave me a sense of achievement without any pressure. Everyone helped everyone else. I also had the opportunity to try new therapies such as drumming and Reiki. I would never had tried these on my own and they too were very helpful.

The support of the leaders and the women on the helped me and I went on to take up an old sport and join an outdoor swimming group. I would not have done this beforehand. I miss the company and support of WIN and hope it can continue after covid 19 restrictions end.

This self-isolation is hard for everyone especially those with mental health difficulties. I have learned to be kind to myself a bit more and reach out to others for support. Ideally hope this project will be running after Covid19 as I miss the mutual support it brings to all the group.”

Anon, 05/04/2020