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Wildlife project is great for young people’s health

Posted on the 4th July 2017

Young people in Lancashire can get involved in an exciting project that will boost their mental health and physical wellbeing whilst improving green spaces in the local community.

Myplace is an exciting and innovative collaboration between Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and The Lancashire Wildlife Trust and is funded by close to £1m in Big Lottery Funding that is administered by the national ‘Our Bright Future’ campaign for young people.

The Myplace project encourages young people aged 13 – 24 years old to explore the environment by offering opportunities to participate in eco-therapy based activities where they can develop new skills, increase their self-esteem, build resilience and improve their own self-confidence. By getting involved in activities outdoors young people can reduce their stress levels, prevent mental health problems and improve their concentration and mood.

Sue Moore, Chief Operating Officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

"There is evidence to suggest that getting outdoors has a positive impact on mental health and physical wellbeing and the Myplace project is all about embracing that.

“We really want to give young people the opportunity to connect with each other and their local environments to explore the outdoor elements of childhood that are often missed out on. This partnership is extremely special and I'm really looking forward to watching it develop."

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has also secured an additional £630k in funding from the European Social Fund, that has resulted in the Myplace project being able to increase employability prospects for those members of the community that are currently furthest away from the jobs market, including some young people, women and members of ethnic minority communities. The expanded project will also include the establishment of two new ‘Men in Shed’s’ projects that enable older men to work together on practical projects, such as furniture restoration or creating garden ornaments in order to develop new skills and build self-confidence .

Mike Winstanley, Health and Skills Project Manager at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust said:

“By working with local communities through Myplace, we have a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference to many people’s future health and employability prospects. Our partnership with the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, assisted by the generous support from our funding partners offers the potential to develop long term solutions to a number of social issues, by utilising the local natural environment and offering local communities accessible opportunities to participate in the Myplace project”.

The Myplace project is delivered throughout Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Skelmersdale and East Lancashire running a variety of environmental activities to improve urban community greenspaces. For more information about the Myplace project visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/myplace or www.lancswt.org.uk/myplace-project.