Coronavirus Support | NatureFit / NatureFix
For some of us the lockdown period was a time to slow down, reflect and re-evaluate our lifestyles – and for these people, maybe it had some positives.
For others though, the past few months have been an extremely busy and stressful period, especially:
- Those workers who have had to continue to work, like our NHS staff, carers and key workers – who have had to keep on going, often under extreme work pressures, with some uncertainty about safety and risk – and potentially now facing exhaustion, even burn out.
Equally, many other people’s wellbeing has been adversely impacted by the virus, perhaps in the following ways:
- Those who have been directly impacted by the virus, either themselves, or their loved ones.
- Those people who have had to shield and isolate, causing a loss of social life, feelings of isolation, and anxieties about whether it is now safe to venture out, or go back to work.
- Those who have been impacted (or remain at risk) of job, livelihood or financial loss, as the economic impacts of COVID bite harder, and Government support schemes come to an end.
- Those for whom working from home has created added pressure, perhaps juggling child/schooling or caring responsibilities, making work-life balance even more difficult than usual. Maybe too, workers are becoming all ‘Zoomed-out’ and missing social interaction with work colleagues?
- General lack of respite or escape from the intensity of continual news coverage, uncertainty of the likely route out of the pandemic and its timeframe, and when things might get back to normal.
- Ongoing anxiety about what the ‘new normal’ might look like, and perhaps sense of loss for things we perhaps took for granted – usual pleasures like meeting up with friends/family for gatherings and celebrations, popping down the pub or restaurant, going abroad on holiday, or just interacting and socialising with work colleagues.
Image – NatureFit /NatureFix Flyer (Page 1)
Many of us are now realising that the mental health and social isolation impacts of the pandemic, may cause longer term health impacts – some of which will take time to fully materialise.
Perhaps NOW is the time to be leading action on this? We believe community projects like ours can provide a vital ‘health creation’ role, helping to keep people out of the often over-burdened NHS system.
New Funding Success |
As a wellbeing organisation, we recognised this early, and took steps to identify how our wellbeing activities like our recently developed NatureFix and evolving NatureFit outdoor wellbeing activities might offer wellbeing support as we start to exit out of the pandemic. We’ve taken advantage of new UK Government funding initiatives aimed at supporting the VCSE sector through difficult trading conditions, as they in turn continue to provide much needed support to their local communities. The pandemic has proved that often local service providers know their local communities well, and can often be the most effective and dynamic to react to hyper-local needs.
Image – NatureFit /NatureFix Flyer (Page 2)
We’re delighted to announce that from mid-September 2020 (see also addendum note below), for a period of 6 months, we’re being supported by grant funding from the UK Government, under the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed through The National Lottery Community Fund, with whom we already have a good working relationship.
This funding will provide support for our nature-based wellbeing activities and programmes (NatureFit & NatureFix) which will be targeted at NHS staff, key workers and members of the wider community, whose wellbeing has been adversely impacted by COVID19.
Luckily, our activities of outdoor based in a small group setting, making it relatively easy to adapt them to be COVID safe/secure. We’ll be limiting group sizes to 6, choosing therapeutic landscape locations which are quiet and where it is easy to maintain.
What’s On Offer? |
We’ll initially be offering the wellbeing activities as NatureFit (for general wellbeing and ‘stay-in-work’) – one 2 hour session per week for 5 weeks (plus initial taster session) in 4 options – in woodland, water-side and open countryside therapeutic landscape settings in the North Staffordshire/East Cheshire area.
1) Natter in Nature Walks – a series of guided walks in inspiring landscapes, providing light/moderate exercise, lots of fresh air and good company as a social chat as we walk. Usual Price £135*
2) Nordic Walking – all body exercise learning Nordic walking techniques, plus instruction in use of poles, warm-up and cool-down exercises, and a series of practice walks as a group. Usual Price £237*
Outdoor Arts for Wellbeing:
3) Mindful Photography – an introduction to mindfulness techniques in nature, using photography, including a series of themed walks, taking notice of the environment and exploring different photography techniques like macro and landscape panoramas. (Participants are welcome to use own camera/camera phone). Usual Price £237*
4) Nature Pattern Printing – a series of guided walks exploring how to capture nature patterns, textures and forms using different materials and techniques and enjoy creating art from found objects in nature. Usual Price £237*
Subject to demand, we may also offer a more intensive NatureFix ‘daily dose of nature’ programme (for people off/out of work and looking to ‘return-to-work’) – daily 2 hour session (Monday to Thursday) for 5 weeks (plus initial taster session). This programme would include elements of 1) to 4) above. Price for this programme is available on application/asking (POA).
All activities and programmes will introduce our ‘Nature Ways to Wellbeing’ model for ongoing self-care and resilience. Participants will be asked to commit to the full 5 weeks, after initial taster session which they can attend with a friend/family member. We are required to seek anonymised data feedback from participants on how they enjoyed and found wellbeing value from the activities for research and impact evidence purposes. All sessions will start 9.00 a.m. running through to 11.00a.m. on weekdays.
*Subsidised/discounted places will be available (below our usual prices), while our funding lasts. Priority will be given to participants whose employer is willing to cover the costs as part of an employee wellbeing or employee assistance programme, or where participants are able to make a contribution (or donation) towards the cost themselves. A limited number of free of charge places will be made available for those experiencing financial hardship at this difficult time.
How To Book |
Places are available from mid-September 2020, through referral by employers/OH providers, or by direct self-referral by participants wanting to attend. Please use Contact Us form to express an interest and request a self-referral form.
We take this opportunity of thanking HM Government, and partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, for giving us this opportunity to continue to support our clients during through this challenging time.
This funding supports the ongoing financial security of our project during this difficult period and will allow us to offer a temporary, part-time vacancy for an additional Wellbeing Support Worker (sessional worker). This vacancy will be advertised on a new website post shortly.
Addendum to this post:
***COVID19 ANNOUNCEMENT*** – Due to the marked up-tick in Coronavirus cases both locally and nationally, we’ve taken the tough decision to re-suspended our face-to-face group wellbeing activities. We hope to resume them as soon as we feel that it is sensible and safe to do so. In the interim we are continuing to offer weekly wellbeing support to our regular participants and taking this opportunity to develop our on-line platforms as ‘virtual escapes’ with the intention of providing wellbeing inspiration and support to a geographically much wider audience.
It is our intention to pick back up with our NatureFix and NatureFit programmes and wellbeing activities, as and when we are able to, and once the immediate workload pressure on NHS staff has eased, and any second wave has been dealt with.