Wild Minds

Outdoor activities to support young people’s wellbeing

Register free for our Wild Minds programme of outdoor activities

What is Wild Minds?

Wild Minds was set up over the last two years in response to the current context around the mental health of young people within the UK; NHS mental health services have experienced greatly increased referrals over the last 10 years, increased wait times for specialist support, and increasing thresholds to gain access.

Developed by South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust (which runs Milton Country Park where the course is hosted), it is supported by a Clinical Psychologist and uses the THRIVE model (a national approach working to transform and integrate children’s mental health services).

  • Free outdoor activities at Milton Country Park (all equipment will be provided too)
  • To support 14 to 17 year olds’ wellbeing
  • Group based bush craft, survival skills, paddle boarding, yoga and mindfulness – no experience necessary for any activities
  • An hour and a half, each weekend, for 8 weeks
  • Run by skilled instructors and youth workers

The course has been developed by South Cambridgeshire District Council together with Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust and is supported by a Clinical Psychologist.

“Every session that I attended I always noticed a positive difference.”

-  Recent participant

Unfortunately our Wild Minds sessions are now fully booked. Further dates will be released soon. In the meantime, feel free to sign up below to be informed of future course dates once they are available.

The project aims to prevent deterioration in the mental health of young people at risk of further mental health problems. It aims to improve mental health through outdoor activities and building confidence and connections with peers in a therapeutic environment. Please read our report [PDF] for a full evaluation from our pilot programmes, ahead of expanding the programme from summer 2021. 

Young people can self-refer for this free course. The easiest way to do this is to fill in our online form.

If you are a guardian, teacher, youth worker or health professional who would like to refer a young person (aged 14-17) for the course, please fill in our online form.

Under guidance from the government, stating that "support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Support groups must not take place in a private home. Examples of support groups include those that provide support to, vulnerable young people, including to enable them to meet youth workers", we will be holding sessions in person at Milton Country Park.

The Park has cosy shelters and fire pits which mean the course can take place even in bad weather. There will be a programme of activities available for people who have registered, but activities can be varied and lead by the weather, as well as the mood of the group and the time of year.

The course is free to attend, and any equipment you will need for the activities will be provided for free. You should make sure to dress appropriately for spending time outdoors (or on the water where relevant).

You should make sure to dress appropriately for spending time outdoors – whether in cold or wet weather, or in really warm temperatures. If the session includes water sports (paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking or similar) it is advisable to wear the kind of clothing that dries quickly (gym wear or shorts and a t-shirt). Please also bring a towel and a change of clothing just in case.

The next 8-week courses will begin in the new year.

In the meantime, feel free to sign up below to be informed of future course dates once they are available.

Wild Minds aims to support young people who are seeking help for mild to moderate mental health difficulties, but for whom do not reach the threshold of severity to be referred to an NHS mental health service. For instance, this might be people who are currently experiencing anxiety, low mood, problems with confidence or self-esteem. Young people will need to be able to manage being in a group and taking part in outdoor activities although the sessions are supported by youth workers. 

The group is not suitable for:

  • Young people who are already receiving a specialist mental health service, for example, from CAMHS
  • Young people who have high risk behaviours or active suicidal thinking or behaviour
  • Young people with a complex mix of different problems which may need prioritising first, for example, eating disorder, substance abuse difficulties
  • Young people where there are current safeguarding concerns that first need to be prioritised to support stability and safety

For any more information please contact duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk

Wild Minds referral form:

Do you support teenagers/young people with mild anxiety, low mood or self-esteem issues?

We want to support parents, pastoral teams, teachers, youth workers, link workers and other professionals to find out more about referring young people to Wild Minds.

Watch our webinar to find out more

A webinar run by the clinical psychologist who supports the free, 8-week course for 14 to 17 year olds who have mild mental health concerns. This webinar was held on Wednesday 5 May 2021. If you missed it, or want to find out more, watch the video below.


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