Nature-based wellbeing programme
Free nature-based wellbeing activities for 12 to 17 year olds
Register free for our Nature-based programmes using our online form.
What is a nature-based wellbeing programme?
We offer 2 different programmes, 'Wild Minds' and 'Find Your Wild’s…Nature in Mind'. The programmes were set up in response to the picture of young people's mental health in the UK, at a time when NHS mental health services have experienced increased referrals and wait times for specialist support; making it harder to access support. The 'Wild Minds' course is run in partnership with Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust at Milton Country Park, and 'Find Your Wild’s…Nature in Mind' host at Wandlebury Country Park.
The programmes are 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 in small groups in a park setting
- To support 12 to 17 year old's wellbeing
- A range of outdoor activities make the most of the natural environment
- Sessions are an hour and a half and take place weekly, for 8 weeks
- The course is run by skilled activity instructors and youth workers
Please note, the age range and venue may change for future groups.
“Every session that I attended I always noticed a positive difference.” Recent participant
Aims of Wild Minds
We believe in the healing power of nature. If you're aged 12-17 and feeling stressed, anxious or down, you'll find a friendly welcome at Milton Country Park. Our 8-week programmes are designed with a particular focus on nature, wellbeing, bushcraft and mindfulness. From campfire cooking and survival skills to natural craft and canoeing, we want to share our passion for the outdoors and help you slow down, tune in, build confidence and discover your wild side. Please read our report [PDF] for a full evaluation from our pilot programmes.
Aims of Find Your Wild’s…Nature in Mind
Come outside! Make friends, make fires and cook, have a go at arts and crafts, do bushcraft, build shelters! Find Your Wild’s…Nature in Mind aims to support young people who are seeking help for mild to moderate mental health difficulties. By being in nature and the sessions being hosted by qualified leaders, it creates a relaxed, safe and friendly environment to enjoy the outside.
Who can attend?
We aim to support young people who are seeking help for mild to moderate mental health difficulties. For instance, young 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.
Who is the course 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
What is the cost?
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).
What should I wear and bring?
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.
What happens in the event of bad weather?
The Parks have cosy shelters and fire pits, which means that the course can take place even in bad weather. There will be a programme of activities available for people who have registered. Activities can be varied and led by the weather, as well as the mood of the group and the time of year.
How can I register myself?
Referrals can be made via YOUnited by a GP or any professional working with children or young people. Alternatively, young people can self-refer for this free course. The easiest way to do this is to fill in our online form.
How can I register someone else?
If you are a guardian, teacher, youth worker or health professional who would like to refer a young person (aged 12-17) for the course, please fill in our online 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 one of our nature-based wellbeing programmes.
Next courses will run in February 2023
Start dates may be delayed until a cohort is filled.
|Location||Date and time||Example activities||Age group|
|Wandlebury Country Park (Find Your Wild’s…Nature in Mind)||
Tuesday 21 February
|Nature walks, art in the woods, earth walks, pond dipping, plant and tree identification, and team building games.||12 to 17|
|Milton Country Park (Wild Minds)||
Sunday 5 March
|Forest school, nature walks, crafts, team building games and water sports (weather dependent).||12 to 17|
Watch our webinar to find out more
A webinar run by the clinical psychologist who supports the sessions. This webinar was held on Wednesday 5 May 2021, before the course expanded its age range and number of locations.