Community project to continue improving lives using nature thanks to National Lottery support

Wild at Heart – a community project run by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust – has received £167,758 of National Lottery funding to help over 1,000 vulnerable and isolated adults in Sheffield and Rotherham improve their lives through nature over the next three years.

Wild at Heart works specifically with adults aged 50 years and over. The programme was set up to deliver wildlife-related activities for older people and other vulnerable and isolated adults in Sheffield and Rotherham that will improve their health and wellbeing, reduce isolation and give them the confidence to get out and about in their community. It uses a hobby-based approach to give people opportunities to try new things and gain the confidence to continue on their own or with family or friends.

Over the last five years, more than 4,000 people in Sheffield and Rotherham, with an average age of 70, have taken part in Wild at Heart through more than 700 nature-based activity sessions. More than two thirds of these took part for over six months and over 1,700 reported being more active as a result.

Thanks to the funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, the following activities will be delivered through Wild at Heart in 2019:

  • The Longley Wild at Heart group based at the Longley Four Greens Community Centre in the north of Sheffield is in the heart of a community which has faced many challenges in recent years. Weekly nature activities for over-50s will be all about making the most of the seasons, connecting with nature on your doorstep, and meeting like-minded people.
  • A monthly Nature Photography for Wellbeing group will be held alternately at four locations throughout the year – Centenary Riverside Nature Reserve, Shire Brook Valley Local Nature Reserve, Hillsborough Park and Sheffield Botanical Gardens – and has proved exceptionally popular in the past. Places are still available and booking is essential.
  • A Nature Activities for Wellbeing group will also be held monthly, on the first Tuesday of every month. The group is based at Clifton Park in Rotherham and provides opportunities for a range of seasonal activities. Places are still available and booking is essential.
  • From April to August 2019, Wild at Heart in the Garden will be taking place at the Trust’s own wildlife garden at 37 Stafford Road, Sheffield, with picnics and plenty of opportunity to learn new wildlife gardening skills, meet new friends and socialise.
  • Weekly sessions run by the Rotherham Social Prescribing team take place in Clifton Park for adults living with long term-health conditions as a way of building confidence and self-esteem by connecting with nature.

Jenny King, Wild at Heart Project Officer, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have received this funding thanks to National Lottery players, which will give us a wonderful opportunity to help people in Sheffield and Rotherham improve their health and wellbeing through engaging with nature.

“Over the last five years we’ve been touched by some of the stories of how Wild at Heart has helped our participants, and we’re looking forward to continuing to level out health inequalities and bringing communities together in 2019 and beyond!”

Booking is essential for all activities. For more information, visit wildsheffield.com/wild-at-heart