We recognise that taking the time to enjoy nature has benefits to people’s health and wellbeing, so we are making it a priority to engage people with their local environment to reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier. To take our plan forward, we have Jolyon Chesworth, our new Health and Wellbeing Manager – a new position for the Trust.
People connecting with nature is more important now, than ever before, Jolyon explains: “Worrying declines in our physical and mental health are reported on a regular basis; only 20% of children get the recommended levels of exercise, and rates of depression amongst teenagers have increased by 70%. Adults don’t fare any better. However, realising that we are a part of the natural world and embracing it can help turn these trends around, with studies showing that some conservation tasks can burn as many calories as going for a run and can help us feel better about ourselves.
Going forward the Somerset Wildlife Trust will be working in partnership with other organisations, and we will be inviting people from diverse backgrounds to take an interest in, and look after, their local, natural environment - everything from helping us manage our nature reserves, to getting involved with improving community greenspaces. Our activities will offer a ‘Natural Health Service’ and be structured around the Five Ways to Wellbeing, allowing people to connect with each other, as well as nature, while being active outside. It will give people the chance to take notice of what’s around them, and learn the skills to look after their local environment. This approach has been proven to make people happier, healthier and more fulfilled, as well as benefiting wildlife at the same time.”