A new report evaluating the impact of nature-based activities in Dorset shows participants feel more connected to people and nature and have greater sense of wellbeing and support.
Over the past 3 years the Stepping into Nature project has worked with local organisations in Dorset to improve opportunities for older people, people living with long term health conditions, in particular dementia, and carers to engage with nature.
In total 370 nature-based activities have been delivered through the Stepping into Nature project for over 2640 attendees. Activities range from walks and woodworking to singing in the countryside and doing traditional crafts. The activities helped people to engage with nature, meet others and learn new skills. Of those that took part 79% of people intended to spend more time outdoors, 98% felt included and 91% intended to return.
‘Providing these things is like providing seeds which can grow in the soil of people’s lives and help something grow and blossom that perhaps wouldn’t have been there’.
Stepping into Nature Project Officer Steph Aburrow added:
‘Some people can find it difficult to engage with nature due to physical limitations or mental health barriers such as a lack of confidence. The potential benefits however of engaging with nature on health and happiness are huge. Excitingly, we are now able to show these benefits occurring in people participating in the Stepping into Nature project that may not have had this opportunity otherwise. We believe everyone, no matter your age or ability, should have equal opportunities to benefit from nature and we are pleased to have contributed towards to this in Dorset.’
This report has been created in collaboration with Public Health Dorset and Visual Insights. You can read the full report here and see summary graphics on the impact to participants here and the community groups and organisations here .
The Stepping into Nature Project is led by Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team and is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.