Winners of our 2020 FHT Green Therapy Business of the Year award, Anne Bramley and Helen Saunders, share a short update about their business, Wellbeing at Whistlewood…
As Nature begins to awake, signs of Spring emerge. These encouraging green shoots are really welcome as we have a very busy year ahead in 2021. Our FHT “Green Therapy Business of the Year 2020” award has helped us to stay positive and motivated during Winter.
We have recently been named as partners within a successful bid within one of seven Green Social Prescribing ‘Test and Learn’ sites for England. This achievement is really important to us as we are proud members of College of Medicine and Integrated Health who pioneered social prescribing.
Our social enterprise is part of the National Forest, the first new forest in England for over a thousand years so within green social prescribing, we will work together towards supporting healthy communities, green spaces and economies. Other partners include the NHS and Derbyshire Mind.
March will be a very busy month as we prepare for the College of Medicine and Integrated Health Social Prescribing Conference. International Social Prescribing Day on March 28th 2021 will have special significance for us. The theme for this year is “Listen, Support, Connect” which dovetails beautifully with our Vision and Mission for Wellbeing at Whistlewood.
As a community for health, we have offered seasonal wellbeing events via Zoom. Our enterprise is based in nature so a limited number of Zoom sessions have helped to maintain connection with our community members. Our social media, newsletters and website offer potential for further connection opportunities. Our own nature connection practice has been vital for our wellbeing and particularly supportive to members of our team who have been shielding, live with chronic conditions and/or disabilities. We recognised early in the pandemic that opportunities to invest in ourselves, our business model and our professional development were central to our resilience and our “Green Recovery”.
Our professional development plan includes building on our practice of holistic therapies, forest bathing, and forest therapy to deepen our knowledge of nature connection theory, practice and research methods.
Our current studies with the University of Derby Nature Connectedness Research Unit include a free, online course aimed at individuals and organisations who work towards supporting Nature Connection. The evidence arising from The University’s research supports that mental health, pro-environmental behaviours and pro-conservation behaviours are all improved through effective connection to Nature.
We have all experienced a challenging winter with restrictions and changes to our social connections. We have been limited to exploring nature on our doorsteps but this has opened up many opportunities to appreciate “nearby nature” which may not be perceived as “perfect” but offers us opportunities.
We understand that the needs of our clients, customers and partners will be quite different in 2021 and the way we deliver our services will need to be responsive to these needs.
We will grieve our losses, support each other and take some deep breaths as we embrace “green shoots” and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Find out more about Wellbeing at Whistlewood.
Photograph: Daniel Douglas Montague Smith.