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Wild at Heart Wellbeing Day Service Users close to trees in nature

Covid volunteers offered free ‘Wild Wellbeing Days’

People who volunteered their time and skills during the Covid-19 pandemic are to be offered a series of free ‘Wild Wellbeing Days’ by local charity Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust.

Thanks to generous funding from the Health & Wellbeing team at South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (with funding received from NHS England/Improvement), the Trust are able to offer the sessions aimed at thanking volunteers for their contributions during the pandemic whilst enabling them to take part in creative nature-inspired activities.

Jenny King, Wild at Heart Project Officer for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said:

“This Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-15th May) is a good moment to highlight how much volunteers have helped over the last two years, not only in practical ways, but also in combating loneliness in the community, which has been a major issue during the pandemic.

“The Wild Wellbeing Days are a thank you for their contribution, offering a chance for the volunteers to relax and enjoy a day out ‘in nature,’ and take part in creative nature-inspired activities.”

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s wellbeing days are designed to take place in local greenspace, and begin with a welcome and refreshments followed by a social, sensory nature walk to explore the area.

Describing what to expect at a typical event, Jenny said:

“Our activities are linked to the seasons and reflect the locality, so we might make ephemeral nature sculptures with clay or with natural materials that we find — such as leaves, acorns and feathers.

“Along the way, we choose a mindfulness sit-spot where participants can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of nature before a healthy lunch, provided at the venue. The afternoon’s activities entail more creativity, such as making willow hearts and decorating them with colourful foliage, or an option to try a skill such as garden archery.”

Activities are adapted to any level of ability, so everyone can be included. The day closes with warm drinks and a chance for participants to share thoughts on their experiences.

Similar Wild Wellbeing Days have so far taken place at the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield, and at Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham. Here’s what previous volunteers said about their experiences:

“Fabulous day. The company, the leaders and the food. All fantastic. Very well organised.”

“Inclusive, dynamic, encouraging and enjoyable.”

“Liked the poems and crafts. An amazing day, even the weather couldn’t have dampened the day!”

“Amazing day – loved being outside. Loved the activities. Loved, loved, loved it!”

Anybody who has been volunteering in the community — no matter how small you feel your contribution to be — is welcome to join one of the Wild Wellbeing Days.

Upcoming available Wild Wellbeing Day sessions include:

Rother Valley Country Park

  • Monday 23 May
  • Wednesday 25 May

Wortley Hall

  • Monday 13 June
  • Tuesday 14 June

Booking is essential. Interested participants can contact Jenny King on 0114 263 4335 or email j.king@wildsheffield.com to book a place or for further information.

Image credits: Mary O’Connell