Froglife has been contracted by Community Partnerships, Kirklees Council, as part of the MENtal Wellbeing Programme, to deliver our Natural Achievers programme. The programme has received additional funding from South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – Creative Minds and City Connect, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, go:walking programmes. The use of creative activities in healthcare has been shown to increase self-esteem, provide a sense of purpose, develop social skills, help community integration and improve service users’ quality of life. South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation recognises these benefits and the Creative Minds strategy underlines the Trust’s commitment to having a creative approach to service delivery as well as promoting more opportunities for individuals/groups to develop and grow creatively.
Froglife has been formally chosen as a creative partner by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation. As a partner we are part of a strong growing infrastructure of community organisations who are working with the local NHS to provide creative projects who use Trust services.
Froglife is providing community-based physical activities using the natural environment to provide training in a wide range of skills and to develop peer support/friendship and social opportunities. Froglife’s Natural Achievers is a tried and tested programme of activities that works with groups of individuals suffering from disadvantage for a range of reasons. Primarily, but not exclusively, men are drawn from across all sectors. Groups complete a six week group activity followed by a six week personal project. On completion of the six week personal project a celebration event is hosted.
Natural Achievers is helping men to improve and maintain health and enable them to make friends. It helps to combat stigma associated with mental ill-health and promote the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’. Natural Achievers enables these men to do something positive to help our natural world whilst benefiting from being outdoors.
“It helps just by being outdoors in a beautiful place surrounded by wildlife, but then I’m also able to contribute something and I feel like it is being valued. I’m not treated like a social outcast, I am respected and encouraged in all I do here, and I love working with all the different groups” previous project participants.
The project started at the beginning of April 2016 and has been working along canal towpaths to improve the biodiversity value, at an allotment site and also at Dewsbury Country Park. Project Participants have carried out a wide range of improvements to these areas, including habitat creation and management, species surveying and building wildlife homes. To find out more information about the project please contact INFO@froglife.org.
Testimonials: “I came across the Froglife project after looking for ‘outdoor’, ‘hands on’ activities for a service user I was working with. Having no care package in place this was extremely difficult until I happened across Froglife. On reading about the project this quickly seemed like the perfect opportunity for my service user to engage with very meaningful activity which would be well suited to his needs. I got in touch with the Project Officer and discussed my referral who was very accepting and approachable. Since my service user began at Froglife I have been really pleased to see a huge increase in the service users’ self-esteem, confidence and engagement with others. The service user has reported to me that he loves the project and is really enthused about all he has done. I feel Froglife offers a huge opportunity for a vulnerable group of individuals who without such a service would otherwise be likely to experience contact with health services due to mental health/behavioural issues.” Specialist Community Learning Disability Nurse, Kirklees Community Learning Disability Health Team, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
“I work with volunteers throughout Kirklees. The majority of clients I work with have additional needs and require some level of support (mostly clinets with mental health issues, Learning disabilities, Autism etc.). I find the Project Officer and her team provide a safe nuturing environment. The work they do builds confidence and maintains interest with a client group which can be sometimes difficult to place. I have seen some amazing results with some of the clients I have referred to Froglife. Their skill levels have improved along with confidence and self-esteem. Also the fact that the tasks they undertake add value to both the environment and community. I have nothing but praise for the project and the leadership and guidance that is provided.” Support Worker, Kirklees Council