Ecominds newsletter July 2011
Hello Ecominds supporter
Welcome to the latest update from Ecominds. It’s an exciting time for Ecominds. We are about to enter a new phase with an exciting poster campaign launching in August to let people know that getting outside and into nature can help improve their mental health.
Mind has produced posters and postcards that Ecominds projects can use to promote their work. See below for more on our Feel better outside, feel better inside campaign.
There have been changes at Mind too, with Jenny O’Doherty leaving the team in June to spend time travelling in south east Asia. I have stepped into Jenny’s shoes (ouch) and am looking forward to working with the wide range of fantastic projects across England that are delivering so much exciting work.
We hope you find this update useful. If you have any news that you want to include, or have comments or suggestions, please contact me.
Ecominds Senior Communications Officer
Feel better outside, feel better inside: Improve your mental health by getting outside and into nature.
A poster campaign to help people with mental health problems understand the benefits of the outdoors to their mental health will be launched in August.
Our Feel better outside, feel better inside campaign will show how outdoor exercise such as gardening, allotment working or simple activities such as walk in the local park can reduce stress, anxiety and improve mental health.
The campaign will help Ecominds projects promote their work to a wider audience and help to strengthen links with the local community and attract volunteers. The campaign also aims to highlight the positive impact that all of our 130 funded projects are making to the lives of service users.
Of course, not everybody will be able to join an Ecominds project, so an important feature of the campaign will be to raise awareness of the practical steps that people with mental health problems can take to ensure they adopt a more active lifestyle in the great outdoors.
Campaign posters and postcards will be distributed to local Minds, Ecominds projects and Mind retail shops in the last week of July. Ecominds projects can use them to promote outdoor activities and their Ecominds services from Monday 1 August.
The Mind website and Facebook pages will also look different. An interactive map will allow visitors to find Ecominds projects locally, there will be an exciting monthly photo competition for your project members to get involved in, and for those who need some inspiration, an activity picker will help encourage those important first steps to a more active lifestyle.
From tiny acorns…
Ecominds has come a long way since its launch at Kensington & Chelsea Mind’s Meanwhile Garden back in 2008. Barry Watts, Mind Grants Manager, gives an outline of what’s happened so far.
In an increasingly hectic world wouldn’t it be lovely to spend time in a peaceful outdoor location, working alongside friends and helping the environment.
In 2008, Ecominds emerged alongside some robust academic research confirming what many people believed: that things like walking or gardening reduce stress and improve our mental and physical health.
Mind secured £7.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for a very simple concept: every year, one in four people experience mental health problems, so Mind wanted to set up projects where people could get involved, find support and friendship, get employment training, and work in a peaceful green location. Some called it ‘green care’, others ‘ecotherapy’, but it’s just using the environment in a therapeutic way.
Ecominds was launched in September 2008 as five-year national grant scheme as part of BIG’s Changing Spaces programme. The scheme generated massive interest and applications were closed two years earlier than planned.
Now, 130 projects are in operation across England, including community garden and allotment projects, projects preserving green spaces, wildlife and biodiversity, plus training, educational and recreational projects.
Ecominds projects are helping thousands of people facing mental health problems learn about exercise, healthy eating, recycling and sustainable environments. Local communities benefit too by becoming involved, enjoying the transformation of derelict land, and helping to break down the stigma of mental health.
Gardening Agianst the Odds awards 2011
The Conservation Foundation and the Daily Telegraph have just launched their 2011 Gardening Against the Odds awards – these awards honour those who have overcome physical and psychological difficulties to create gardens that bring joy to all.
To enter, you will need to describe why your garden should win in no more than 500 words. Include the circumstances in which the garden was created, noting flowers, trees, fruit or vegetables. You will also need to include at least two clear digital photographs. They could be taken earlier this year. The closing date is 16 September. It would be great to see an Ecominds project win this year!
Sheffield: Nurture by Nature project goes live
The Young Women’s Housing Project launched their Ecominds-funded allotment scheme with an awareness raising event in May. Those attending got a taste of the work on an allotment, were treated to a masterclass on different herbs courtesy of Cllr Jillian Creasy, and found out how your eating habits can affect how you feel through a ‘food and mood’ quiz.
To find out more about Nurture by Nature, contact Katie Stanford on 0114 268 0580.
Slough: Launch party for Growing Better Lives
Despite the morning cloudburst, an afternoon of fun at Wexham Nursery marked the launch of Growing Better Lives on 22 June. The Ecominds project run by Exclusion Link is using lottery money to provide a programme of green care that introduces service users and volunteers to plants, animals, farming and nature.
The party featured a secret garden, a host of children’s activities including puppetry, and even a ‘personality dog show’ for pooches visiting with their owners. The event was made possible by a small army of former service users and current programme members who helped organise the day.
Volunteers for Ecominds?
Mind is delighted to be Veolia Environmental Services’ Charity of the Year. Veolia is the leading waste management and recycling company in the UK and the partnership gives Mind a fantastic opportunity to raise its profile with their 12,000 staff across the country.
Veolia staff can get involved in fundraising and volunteering activities and are all entitled to a half days paid leave to volunteer. Mind have had a lot of interest from staff wanting to help out at a local Ecominds project - if you are seeking volunteers and are happy to accommodate a group of people for half a day, please email Rebecca Muncey.
Stephen Fry to become Mind’s new President
Mind is delighted to announce that Stephen Fry is to become the new President of Mind, succeeding Lord Melvyn Bragg who revealed in June that he is to step down after 15 years in the role.
Stephen Fry has been a Mind supporter for a number of years and was named Mind Champion in 2007 for his award-winning documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, which explored his experiences of living with bipolar disorder.
Conference: Resilience and wellbeing in rural communities
Mind’s third Rural Minds Conference takes place on 7 & 8 September. The two-day event in County Durham will address the impact of recent policy changes on people facing mental health problems as well as showcasing good practice from rural areas.
The event will address some of the challenges facing rural communities, such as: reduced public spending on services and support for the third sector; capacity and sustainability issues; fragmentation of services, and access issues.
The event is open to staff, volunteers at local Minds and Ecominds projects, and anyone else with an interest in rural mental health service delivery.
Fees for delegates from voluntary sector organisations range from £50 to £125 depending on income. A limited number of bursaries and subsidies for travel are available for smaller organisations – please mention this when booking.
You can book your place online or if you don’t have internet access, please call Louise Dooks on 0844 481 6020.
Tell us what you’d like to see in the next edition or give us your feedback on any of the content you’ve read here today, firstname.lastname@example.org