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More funding awarded to innovative rural projects in Swansea

Two Swansea-based initiatives are celebrating receiving funding from the Rural Development Programme.


GPs and other health workers in Gower may soon be able to prescribe wilderness bushcraft courses to help boost local people’s health and wellbeing.

Under an innovative new scheme, people needing a bit of extra support will be able to attend wilderness training courses run by local organisation, Dryad Bushcraft CIC, if prescribed by their local rural NHS health practitioners and SCVS rural co-ordinators.

The initiative is just one of the two latest projects being funded by the Swansea Rural Development Partnership (RDP) which are designed to support communities in country areas of Swansea.

The Wellbeing through Woodcraft scheme is a pilot project funded with £10,000 of support from the RDP.

It aims to promote wellbeing through nature that seeks to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new and innovative social prescription-based approach to delivering support to individuals who have been adversely affected by the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

Based in their workshop in Park Woods, Dryad Bushcraft CIC will offer a woodland activity programme via social prescribing and the delivery of a series of twelve outdoor wellbeing sessions.

These sessions will include a broad range of bush craft and woodland craft activities, specifically aimed at engaging people who have experienced difficulties during the pandemic.

A further £9, 034.21 has been awarded to Rhossili Community Council to develop the Rhossili Community Hwb. This project will improve social resilience of the community and reduce isolation for those not digitally enabled.

The project will deliver a ‘one-stop shop’ interactive and sustainable communication platform that focusses on local issues as well as broader issues of relevance: health, well-being and the environment. Access to the resource will be supported through bespoke IT skills support, to service current and future needs of the community.

Rhossili Community Hwb will build both community resilience and cohesion in Rhossili and surrounding communities, while enabling the digitally excluded with minimal environmental impact.

Andrew Stevens, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure said the grants would make an important contribution to the life of rural communities in Swansea.

“I live in a rural area and I’m very well aware of the many wellbeing benefits there are of having some of the finest countryside there is on my doorstep.

“Those living in rural areas face particular challenges with respect to acute loneliness and social isolation which can affect quality of life, health and happiness.  The focus of these two projects in reducing rural isolation and supporting the well-being of those who have been impacted by the pandemic lockdowns will bring considerable benefits and aid Covid 19 recovery.”

“Wellbeing through Woodcraft isn’t about turning people into Ray Mears. It’s about encouraging people to take time and space in an outdoor learning environment to improve their health and wellbeing alongside other NHS care they may be receiving.

“It’s an exciting new idea and the RDP is looking forward to seeing how the pilot scheme goes.”

The RDP is a seven-year European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development programme funded by the European Union and the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, ending in 2023.