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Fishing for better mental health in the Vale of Glamorgan

Reel Minds
Reel Minds CIC take people fishing on the South Wales shores to help improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Founder David Williams says: “There have been numerous studies about the benefits of fishing on your mental health.”  The National Lottery Community Fund’s£10,000 grant will help them do just that. 
The project started in lockdown when founder David Williams took one of his friends fishing. “He had recently been furloughed and was suffering with his mental health. Going fishing was an excellent way for us to have some social interaction and meet up while still distancing 
“There have been numerous studies about the benefits of fishing on your mental health. Fishing is available on prescription through the NHS in England as an alternative to medication, but not in Wales. 
“Anglers place a high value on experiencing nature and escaping the stresses of everyday life. It has been proven that being on or near the water can reduce stress and anxiety and even lower your heart rate. People who participate in angling often experience increased concentration on the task in hand which serves as a mental break from other things that may be causing frustration in the everyday fast pace of modern life.” 
The group aim to support people with their mental health before they reach crisis and provide an alternative to medication. They teach participants how to manage their own mental health including understanding warning signs and the importance of diet, socialising and exercise. They also want to train their volunteers to be level 1 angling coaches, outdoor first aiders and to deliver mental health awareness courses. They hope to have a stand next year at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Show in Cardiff to exhibit the work that we have done. 
Adam Mitchell, a participant at Reel Minds CIC expressed his gratitude to the organisation saying:   
“Thanks to Reel Minds I was able to go fishing for the first time. I didn’t catch anything on the first session but enjoyed it none the less. Just being outdoors in nature was relaxing and proved some of the points Dave had made on the Mental Health Awareness course. When I caught my first fish it was amazing, my perseverance had paid off and it felt like a real accomplishment.I’ve enjoyed the fishing so much that I’m going to get my own rod and go fishing in my own time. It really helped me unwind and forget about the daily stresses of life.”   
John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, congratulated the organisation saying:       
“We are proud to be the largest funder of community activity in the UK, supporting grassroots groups like Reel Minds CIC. It’s clear that the people they are helping are finding peace of mind in a new activity. The Fund is dedicated to supporting projects that bring people together to support their communities and create stronger social connections. Without the support of National Lottery players who raise over £30 million each week for good causes like these throughout the UK, projects like these wouldn’t be able to access this financial support.”    
This is just one out of 48 projects receiving a share of £684,085 of National Lottery funding this month.