News release from 15/02/2022

Free nature-based wellbeing activities for teens in Milton and Wandlebury

Free outdoor wellbeing activities to support 12-17 year olds

The Council’s successful Wild Minds programme has opened for registration for March 2022 with an expanded programme of small-group activities in a park setting, to support teenagers struggling with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The age-range has widened to invite 12-17 year olds to register (sessions will be run in separate groups of 12-14 year olds, and 15-17 year olds). The course will also now run in two locations, continuing at Milton Country Park where the programme was first established, and expanding to run at Wandlebury Country Park for the first time.

The sessions run for an hour and a half, for eight weeks, with different activities on offer each week. Young people benefit from spending time in a therapeutic outdoor environment with qualified activity instructors, trained youth workers, and a small group of peers. The course is designed to help teens tackle things like mild anxiety, low mood and depression; and to improve self-confidence and esteem. A clinical psychologist oversees the course, providing support to young people who may otherwise go without, due to not meeting the threshold for NHS mental health care.

Young people who would like to attend, or parents or carers who think the course may be suitable for a young person in their care, can register now online.

There are three courses starting in spring 2022

  • Sunday 20 March at Milton Country Park, from 3pm to 4:30pm – for 15 to 17 year olds
  • Tuesday 22 March, at Wandlebury Country Park, from 4pm to 5:30pm – for 12 to 14 year olds
  • Wednesday 23 March, at Wandlebury Country Park, from 4pm to 5:30pm – for 12 to 14 year olds.

A parent of a recent participant said: “Wild Minds proved to be a lifeline at a time when we were on waiting lists for professional support. As a parent, I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to speak with the youth support worker running the sessions to gain advice and support as we sat on waiting lists. I think just the realisation that they weren’t the only one dealing with difficult emotions helped. It helped them to open up more to us at home which has been very helpful.”

Councillor Bill Handley

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing at South Cambridgeshire District Council (pictured above), said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve not only been able to continue the partnership with Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust to again run the Wild Minds programme at Milton Country Park but also that we’ve forged a new partnership with ‘Find Your Wild’ to run two further courses at Wandlebury Country Park.Councillor Bill Handley

“Between the two sites, young people will have a chance to try their hand at everything from campfire cooking, foraging, shelter building and survival skills, to treetop walking, team games, pond dipping and paddle boarding. It gives them the chance to try things that may otherwise be unavailable to them, to build self-confidence, a more positive mindset and experience team-working. The course is completely free, including any equipment that is needed and the course leaders are incredibly friendly and reassuring. Now that the programme has expanded, we have more spaces available, so I hope many more young people will be able to benefit from these free activities.”

Further courses are planned throughout the rest of 2022, with additional dates to be released shortly. Anyone interested in future course dates can register their interest on the Council’s website to receive updates when new dates are announced.

Wild Minds logo saying 'everything is better outdoors'