Health professionals at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust took part in a Myplace taster session to find out more about an exciting community project to boost young people’s mental health and physical wellbeing.
The ecotherapy based project is aimed at young people aged between 13 and 25 years, who live in the areas in and around Chorley, Preston and East Lancashire. Participants are given the opportunity to actively participate in developing and improving their own local greenspaces which can also have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing by enabling them to develop new skills, increase mental and physical fitness and grow in self-confidence.
The aim of the taster session was for health professions to experience first-hand the benefits of Myplace before recommending to the young people they work with.
Georgie Hall Support, Time and Recovery Worker in the East Lancashire Community Restart Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“I had a great day at the Myplace taster session for staff at Lomeshaye Nature Reserve. I really enjoyed getting out in the fresh air, walking, doing crafts, building fires and spending time with colleagues.
“The reserve is a lovely, natural space and there is so much to do and see. Staff were extremely welcoming and pleasant and the session was so well thought out with lots of different activities that were planned for us. I would definitely recommend the Myplace project to anyone who is thinking about getting involved, you will definitely enjoy it!”
Julie Bracewell, Housing Team Leader in the East Lancashire Community Restart Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“I can honestly say it was my worst nightmare when I heard that the taster session involved exploring a nature reserve and looking at bugs, however as it turns out I thoroughly enjoyed the day!
“I was very impressed with the staff, they were very passionate and ensured we participated in a variety of activities to make sure we got as much as possible from the day. Lomeshaye is a very tranquil setting and the activities planned were both therapeutic and enjoyable. I can definitely see how young people would benefit from getting involved in Myplace, what a fabulous session!”
Rebecca Witcombe, Myplace Project Officer at The Lancashire Wildlife Trust said:
“We had such a fantastic session at Lomeshaye Marsh with our Lancashire Care colleagues, it was a great opportunity to showcase our Myplace ecotherapy activities. Everyone got really involved so will now be able to use this experience to explain about and refer the young people to the project.”
Myplace is an innovative collaboration between the Trust and The Lancashire Wildlife Trust and is funded by close to £1m in Big Lottery Funding that is administered by the national ‘Our Bright Future’ campaign for young people. The Myplace project encourages young people aged 13 – 24 years old to explore the environment by offering opportunities to participate in eco-therapy based activities where they can develop new skills, increase their self-esteem, build resilience and improve their own self-confidence. By getting involved in activities outdoors young people can reduce their stress levels, prevent mental health problems and improve their concentration and mood.
The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has also secured an additional £630k in funding from the European Social Fund, that has resulted in the Myplace project being able to increase employability prospects for those members of the community that are currently furthest away from the jobs market, including some young people, women and members of ethnic minority communities. The expanded project will also include the establishment of two new ‘Men in Shed’s’ projects that enable older men to work together on practical projects, such as furniture restoration or creating garden ornaments in order to develop new skills and build self-confidence .
The Myplace project is delivered throughout Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Skelmersdale and East Lancashire running a variety of environmental activities to improve urban community greenspaces. For more information about the Myplace project visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/myplace or www.lancswt.org.uk/myplace-project.