Blog 17 - We are taking a break

…but not breaking up for good! Our Stepping into Nature project is coming the end of its grant, so what is on the horizon for the team?

Stepping into Nature Conference 2022 (C) Ben Ingram

Our Stepping into Nature project which has been running face-to-face activities, creating self led activity ideas and providing grants for local community groups has come to a natural close as the grant funding ends.

The Stepping into Nature team who you may have met over the past 6 years, Julie Hammon and Steph Aburrow, are however on a mission to support more people enjoy getting out and about in nature, especially for those that find it difficult. Over the next few months, the team will be seeing where they can make the biggest difference, partnering with local organisations and hopefully securing some funding to support this work.

Taking notice of the the colours and shapes of Autumn leaves

It was different to anything else I have done. It was good for the soul

- Feedback from activity attendee

One area of work the team is looking into is the creation of a network of volunteers linked to community members who could benefit from support to experience nature for their wellbeing. Stepping into Nature ran a small pilot with Age UK in 2022 to test the idea. The volunteers ‘Nature Buddies’ were paired with their ‘buddy’ and offered tailored support, whether that be walking in open spaces, sitting in parks, or enjoying indoor activities such as bird watching from a window.

The pilot proved successful so the team are looking to widen the offer to more people in Dorset. It’s early days yet and more work it needed to explore how this can work on a larger scale but if you have any ideas or think your organisation could be part of this then please contact us and to keep in the loop then sign up to our Stepping into Nature newsletter.

In the meantime, you may notice the usual hum drum of Stepping into Nature activities and creations will be a little quieter, but rest assured the team are busy behind the scenes!

Helping people to enjoy nature in new ways.

If you’re in a reflective mood, then here’s just a smidgen of what the Stepping into Nature project has achieved over the past 3 years…

  • Over 680 people attended group activities
  • Over 86 group activities offered – walks, talks, creative workshops
  • Over 1000 ‘Your Seasons of Stories’ artist boxes
  • Over 2500 ‘Seasons of Stories’ books
  • 6 new stories telling the story of the landscape and wildlife to hand drawn animations
  • 6 self led walking guides exploring local towns and villages (more on their way soon)
  • 10 relaxing 1-minute films highlighting the natural beauty of Dorset. (more on their way in spring and summer!)
  • Over 17 000 views on Picnic in the Parks – an online resource hub of activity and ideas to explore nature – including digital versions of all the above!
  • Over £100 000 awarded in community grants to increase opportunities to enjoy nature.
Lytchette Matravers enjoying the benefits of being awarded grant from Stepping into Nature

“This (Seasons of Stories book) would complete my collection that I will cherish. I lived in Dorset and Stepping into Nature helped me deal with loneliness and anxiety. At the time I was grieving and didn’t have anyone to talk to. The books reminded me of my childhood and brought back memories of going into the woods, walking for miles, getting lost on purpose”

- Feedback from the seasons of stories book