Virtual volunteering supports wellbeing and wildlife

(c) Katie Greenwood

Six-week programme helps to improve mental and physical health whilst volunteering for nature.

Wellbeing with Nature is part of Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Go Wild Get Fit health and wellbeing offer. The trust support people who are out of work, experiencing something that has a significant impact on daily life, or live in a deprived area to connect to nature and help improve their mental and physical wellbeing. 

The Wellbeing with Nature programme takes a person-centred approach and offers six sessions incorporating mindfulness; the five ways to wellbeing; and nature conservation (at home and nearby) to help wildlife to thrive. Participants are supported by a personal development plan to help achieve their goals, improve their health and get active for nature. 

Rachel Barker, Natural Wellbeing Assistant for Cheshire Wildlife Trust said: “Each session encourages a group of 3-6 volunteers to get involved with experiences supporting emotional wellness and guided activities. Participants volunteer for nature and create bird feeders, seed bombs and much more using materials from around the home and provided by the Trust. The sessions last between 45-90 minutes and offer opportunities for group discussion and introspection, as well as activities to do beyond the online sessions.” 

As a result of engaging in Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Natural Wellbeing programmes: 

  • 92% of participants showed an overall improvement in health and wellbeing scores.
  • 61% of people believe they possess more valuable skills and experience as a result of engaging in the programme. 
  • 40% are less anxious. 
  • 57% are happier and more satisfied with life. 
  • 59% feel they are more able to bounce back after things go wrong 
  • 58% are more active as a result 

Cheshire Wildlife Trust are continuing to deliver the programme, adapted for virtual participation in response to Covid19, online via video call with rolling start dates over the coming weeks.

If you are currently unemployed, or provide support and services for somebody who may benefit, get in touch: rbarker@cheshirewt.org.uk.