MyPlace is an innovative partnership between Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Wildlife Trust which will enable demonstrative outcomes that show how youth led environmental action that benefits the wider community, can also significantly improve mental health issues within young people.
The MyPlace project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund is one of 31 projects working with the Our Bright Future movement, a national consortium of 8 organisations which are coordinated by the Wildlife Trusts that is working to empower young people to become the next generation of environmental leaders.
The development of the MyPlace project has been guided by previous environmental youth project activity, consultations and evaluations, as well as the immensely successful ‘Ecominds’ scheme coordinated by Mind in 2013. The outcomes associated with Ecominds has enabled MyPlace to confidently incorporate ecotherapy themes into the proposed activities, promoting distinctiveness and providing measurable outcomes that will build on the evidence base produced by Ecominds.
Utilising a programme of practical, environmentally based activities, community engagement and event organisation, the project will help to address key priorities for both the young people and their local communities. All group sessions will be delivered on an individual basis enabling the team to break down any apparent barriers to active participation for young people who have additional support requirements and/or may exhibit more challenging behaviours.
This project will:
- By 2020, 1000 young people aged between 13 and 25, considered most at risk will be empowered to shape and deliver environmental enhancements in their communities
- By 2020, 1000 young people will feel healthier and we will be able to demonstrate the cost benefit for all that take part in activity, highlighting an alternative way to treat health issues using SROI methodology.
- By 2020, 1200 members of the wider community will be actively involved in making decisions and practical action to manage their local spaces leading to increased community cohesion, resilience and mentoring opportunities.
- By 2020, 120 greenspaces will be improved located within urban neighbourhoods, that will demonstrate benefits for both people and the natural environment. The project will generate £120,000 worth of capital improvements for local community greenspaces.
MyPlace will help to contribute to a wide range of national, regional and local priorities ranging from health, economy, sustainability, education, skills, employment, youth and the environment.
His Royal Highness Prince Harry meets young people on the Myplace project at Brockholes
Prince Harry was at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust nature reserve to learn more about the project which is encouraging young people to get into the wild. This is being proven to offer huge health benefits. This European Social Fund and National Lottery funded project is a partnership between the Lancashire WildlifeTrust and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which is pioneering nature as a holistic therapy.
HRH went into the Viking Wood at Brockholes and met Myplace staff and participants as they took part in dead-hedging, bushcraft and mindfulness. He also chatted to young people involved in cooking bread and marshmallows over a log fire.
Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Officer Anne Selby said: “This visit has put the spotlight on our innovative project with the NHS, Prince Harry is clearly passionate about the subject of mental health and was so natural with the young people.
“Prince Harry showed real compassion to the participants who have struggled with mental health issues. He noticed one of the attendees looked overwhelmed, he circled back to reassure her and listened for a moment.
“He is on a real mission for mental health issues to be de-stigimatised, the biggest prize is for this sort of approach to be normalised and part of the system nationally. That’s the challenge. It was really great that senior delegates from the project’s funders, Our Bright Future, Big Lottery Fund and The European Social Fund, were there. It was really good for them to see the practical side of Myplace.”
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of Big Lottery Fund said, “It is great see that National Lottery funding for Myplace is creating opportunities for young people to get outdoors and access support for their mental health and wellbeing. We are proud to see their work and its impact being recognised today.”
LWT Health and Skills Project Manager Mike Winstanley said: “Our Myplace project works with young people in Lancashire to reconnect them with nature, building confidence whilst encouraging them to talk about their own mental health without stigma. Some of the young people have been speaking to HRH today about their own journey, describing how Myplace has helped them to recover from their own mental health conditions. I know it meant a lot to the young people to meet the Prince, they were excited to show off the project and the activities they are involved in.”
Sue Moore, Chief Operating Officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our partnership with the Wildlife Trust is so special because it goes such a long way in destigmatising mental health and giving the young people the space and confidence to talk about it with others. We really believe that spending time in the outdoors can make a huge difference and minimise the impact that their mental health could have on their adult lives. HRH has made a huge impression on the young people today and I’m sure they will remember this experience for a very long time.”
For more details of Myplace go to www.lancswt.org.uk