North West Kent Countryside Partnership
North West Kent Countryside Partnership

Natural Ways to Wellbeing

Natural Ways to Wellbeing is a Kent wide Countryside Partnership project that links people to nature using elements of the countryside and the great outdoors itself to help people improve their health and wellbeing.

 

We have many different types of project to suit all ages, abilities, genders and interests. So whether you enjoy art and crafts, a nice stroll, jog or run, or even just getting out there and enjoying nature we have something for you.

 

Please watch the video below to find out more about the Natural Ways to Wellbeing project.

There are links to each CMP provided on their logo. Just click on the CMPs logo that you are interested in to be taken to their website.

 

Men in Sheds

A Men's Shed is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy.

 

  • Share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue.
  • Places of skill-sharing and informal learning, community projects.
  • Social interaction and a place of leisure where men come together to work

Shedders say 

 

"It’s great to learn new skills, get advice and sit and have a chat.

 

"Fixing, making and re-using materials has given me the motivation to improve my rented home. It improved my mental state and it gave me hope."


The Kent Countryside Partnerships have helped to open two sheds in Kent.  More information can be found here:  http://menssheds.org.uk/

Maidstone Shed

NWKCP and MVCP have worked with Groundwork to provide an exciting new Mens Shed in the locally famous Elephant House at Cobtree Manor Park in Maidstone!

This shed is now up and running, if you are interested in joining, or would like to know more please contact 03000 422997 or email medwayvalley@kent.gov.uk for more details.

Tunbridge Wells Shed

Kent High Weald Partnership have worked with the TN2 Centre to provide a Mens Shed in Tunbridge Wells. This shed is up and running, If you are interested or want to be a part of it contact  01580 212972 / 07917 473611  or email Info@khwp.org.uk

Volunteering - Green Gym

Grab your coat and boots and join our team of volunteers on one of our various conservation days.

 

If you have a few hours in the week to spare and don't mind getting your hands dirty, why not join us in helping to improve the environment for both people and wildlife in Kent?

 

Volunteering is a great way to get fit naturally and at your own pace - they don't call it Green Gym for nothing! Please see our Volunteering tab for more information and this months activities.

 

Outdoor Education

As you have seen there are many ways to us the outdoors for fun, but there are also many fun ways to learn.

 

In Summer 2014 NWKCP worked with Stour Valley Arts to facilitate a workshop called 'Inspiring Environments' which was based on a theme of using the great outdoors to inspire creativity.

 

Watch the video and see if you can be inspired!

 

Health and Wellbeing Project - Case Studies

The Kent High Weald Partnership (KHWP) manages a number of Local Nature Reserves and other greenspaces across the borough on behalf of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, and local Town and Parish Councils.

 

 

 

The majority of management works carried out by KHWP rely on the engagement and ongoing support of local community volunteers who assist with practical tasks, as well as family events and education.

 

The benefits of conservation volunteering and learning outdoors has a positive effect for the environment and there is growing evidence to demonstrate the link between accessing green spaces, and an increased level of wellbeing in both adults and children.

 

Research has also shown that being active outdoors is markedly better for both physical and mental wellbeing, than comparable levels of exercise taken indoors.

 

The KHWP Partnership run an extensive program of events and projects including:

 

Forest School

Family events

Move, Eat, Grow! Weight management programme

Sherwood Mens Shed

Conservation Volunteering

 

Key benefits from KHWP programme 2014/15

 

Increased Sense of Wellbeing

A key benefit of KHWP’s conservation volunteering program that was appreciated by volunteers was the opportunity to gain confidence and learn new skills. Construction tasks included basic carpentry skills and training in the use of hand tools. Increased levels of physical activity were noted by volunteers to be an important aspect of what they gain from their days with KHWP.

 

Reducing Social Isolation through Community and Group Activity

Feedback from volunteers has again indicated high levels of enjoyment in undertaking group activities this year. The social benefits of participating in positive activities with others were keenly felt, particularly by individuals experiencing isolation due to mental health issues.

 

Positive Effect on the Communitie's Surroundings

Works to improve walking routes at Sherwood lake and Woods through vegetation clearance and the construction of a boardwalk has had a positive effect for both people and nature. Work also included opening up dense areas of the woodland in order to create sunny glades. The site has since seen a surge of new people accessing including families and lone female dog walkers.

 

Here are some quotes taken from participants that took part in the 2014/15 programmes.

 

“I enjoy the camaraderie and sense of achievement away from stresses of day to day life.”

67 year-old male KHWP volunteer

 

“I’m helping you with this gardening, and you’re helping me with my mental health”

KHWP volunteer with diagnoses of asperger’s syndrome, depression and anxiety

 

“Very companiable and inclusive group. Always feel great after task day.”

Retired female KHWP volunteer

 

“I enjoy feeling tired having done something useful. I enjoy the sense of achieving a lot as part of a team. I enjoy the opportunity to do something completely different because I worked in an office for 40 years.”

Retired female KHWP volunteer

 

"Good to be out in the fresh air and working and talking with others"

64 year old retired KHWP volunteer

 

 

The White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (WCCP) run a wide range of projects, events and activites that give the opportunity for people to access and explore the countryside, including places you may never have known existed!

 

 

 

Projects from WCCP include;

 

Guided walks

A guided walk is a great way to discover the most interesting and attractive parts of the town and countryside of White Cliffs Country and The Garden Coast. You can't get lost and there is a knowledgeable leader to tell you about the wildlife and history along the walk. Most of th walks are gentle strolls, suitable for all ages and are all graded for level of difficulty to help you choose a suitable walk.

Walks are Free with donations welcomed. Dogs are welcome on most walks!

 

Conservation events

The White Cliffs Countryside Volunteers meet 4-5 times a week to carry out practical projects to conserve wildlife and improve footpaths. The Volunteers are a friendly group of local people and new members are welcome at any time. We provide an experienced leader, training, tools, gloves and refreshments.

Membership is free!

 

For Families - WCCP host the 'Green Gang Project'

This is a special programme of events for children and their families, organised for each of the school holidays. Events are fun as well as educational, and include science, wildlife and art activities!

The events are available in a free magazine that is sent via email to all schools with children aged 5-11 in Dover and Shepway.

 

There is also the Junior Ranger scheme, part of Green Gang scheme, for children interested in learning more about wildlife and ecology, while earning special badges and certificates. You don't need to be a member of the Green  Gang or be a Junior Ranger to attend any of the events.

Please note that children must be accompanied at all times by a responsible adult.

 

For more information visit the 'You can Help' section on the WCCP website. Also for the most recent list of events click on the DOWNLOADS section on each page.

The Kentish Stour Countryside Project works closely with landowners and local communities to promote both landscape and nature conservation, and develop opportunities for countryside access and recreation. It operates as a working partnership of sponsoring organisations, project staff and local people.

 

Sturry Road Football Competition

 

A football competition was held last summer to celebrate the reopening of the refitted basketball/football court at Sturry Road Community Park in Canterbury, with 15 eleven to twenty year olds taking part.

 

County Member Graham Gibbens attended the event and was sufficiently impressed to fund two further programs of football at the park!

One of the programmes was run by  'Porchlight ' (a charity that suppor
ts vulnerable and  homeless people in Kent) and their youth workers, who had a great rapport with the local young people.

 

The programme included 6 football competitions, with one in each school holiday.

 

The competition was well attended, starting off with 20 individulas taking part in December and February and that number rising to over 70 in the Easter Holidays of April 2015!

 

The second program consisted of after-school football training for girls in local primary schools, with a total of 44 girls participating. The schools taking part included; St John’s, St Peter’s and Parkside Primary Schools.

 

A planned interschool competition will take place before the end of the school year. A team from St Stephens will also be taking part in this final tournament.

 

The program has been run by Premier Sport, a commercial organisation with a good reputation for providing sports lessons in local schools.

 

With the project proving to be a great succcess, both sports providers plan to apply for funding to repeat these events next year!

 

Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership run many other Health and Wellbeing-based projects, including:

 

Weekly volunteer tasks in the Ashford area on Wednesdays and Canterbury area on Thursdays

Activities with local school pupils

Working to improve council-owned wildlife sites for people and wildlife

Creating and supporting Friends groups to manage community green spaces

Walking and cycling guides to explore the Stour Valley (see publications tab on the website)

 

For more information on these projects or contact details click on the partnerships logo to be taken to their website.

Ideas to get you enjoying the 'Great Outdoors'

Activity

A Journey Stick

Journey Sticks

 

Your Woodland Journey!

 

Journey Sticks are similar to those made by native Americans. A map is the usual way of finding our way around, or to show others where we have been, but the woodland can also do this by the many different items it produces.

 

The Journey Stick is created by first selecting a fallen stick that appeals to you, then whilst walking through a forest, picking up natural items/materials that have meaning to you (such as a leaf, feather or piece of moss) and tying them on to the stick in the order that they were found to create the 'Journey' or map.

 

Once the stick has been completed you can share your personal journey with others to;

  • Remind you of locations within the wood where you found a particular item and lead a friend to where you found it.
  • Navigate you way back to the start of your journey by looking at the items in reverse.
  • Discuss how the items are linked to life that is found in the wood.

You could also try;

  • Creating a linear map of the journey by recalling each items' location and drawing that particular area/habitat on it.
  • Create an imaginative story or poem based on what you found.
  • Drawing the items on an actual map of the woodland, roughly where where you found them.
  • Take the stick home to show your family or carers.

 

What you will need:

Scissors

Twine or string

A stick

A sense of adventure!

 

Have fun and be safe!

 

Always take note of emergency numbers, and woodland safety notices.

 

Activity Downloads

Journey Stick Activity - Download/Printable Version
Journey Stick Activity.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [177.6 KB]
Bug House Activity - Download/Printable Version
Bug House Activity.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [163.5 KB]
Nature Explorer - Download/Printable Version
Nature Explorer Activity.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [278.3 KB]

Kent Countryside Management Partnerships

Our partners span the whole of Kent and deliver their own unique Health and Wellbeing work that links people to Conservation and the Environment.

 

Click on each Partnerships' logo to be taken to their Website.

Natural Ways to Wellbeing funders and Partners;

Useful Links:

 

Healthy Living Centre, Dartford

www.hlcdartford.co.uk

 

The Gr@nd, Gravesend

www.thegrand.org 

 

Kent Wildlife Trust

http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on

 

Explore Kent

http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure_and_culture/countryside_and_coast.aspx

 

Walking for Health

http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/

 

Change4Life

http://www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx

 

Wellbeing South East

www.wellbeingsoutheast.org.uk

Get involved!

Find out how by contacting us at:

 

North West Kent Countryside Partnership
Hall Place
Bourne Road

Bexley DA5 1PQ

Tel: 01322 621 239
E-mail: 

nwkcp01@kent.gov.uk

or

sara.spellman@kent.gov.uk

 

Explore Kent

For further volunteering opportunities, please click on the link below:

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