My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

New project using nature to improve wellbeing is launched

Wellbeing in Green Spaces project team (from left) Richard Edwards and Mel Chandler from Cultivate, Kate Morgan-Clare from Oriel Davies Gallery and Matt Riesing from Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. Image: Hannah Zervas.

Fancy learning how to cultivate trees and edible plants, or sketching nature in Newtown’s green spaces or learning new conservation skills?

A new, Welsh Government funded project, using nature, art and food growing to enhance the health and wellbeing of the local community, has been launched this week.

The Wellbeing in Green Spaces Project is being co-ordinated by Open Newtown, an independent development trust and social enterprise which manages 130 acres of green spaces in Newtown.

The 19-month project is running a series of free, six-week, structured workshops, focusing on understanding nature on our doorsteps to improve wellbeing, led by Cultivate, Oriel Davies Gallery and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.

Walk and draw workshops, tending the town’s edible plant beds, tree planting and bird box building are just some of the activities on offer.

There is a combination of drop-in sessions and bookable events available, and people are encouraged to visit the project’s webpage – https://opennewtown.org.uk/wellbeing-in-green-spaces-project/  – for more information and for booking details.

The first set of workshops start on Thursday, February 24, 11am-1pm, meeting outside Oriel Davies Galley. This drop-in session will explore edible trails in Newtown, led by Cultivate’s workshop leader, Mel Chandler.

Gary Mitchell, Open Newtown’s chief executive said: “There is growing evidence of the health and wellbeing benefits of being in nature, so we are really excited to see Cultivate, Oriel Davies Gallery and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust come together in this way.

“Since the start of the pandemic, many people have felt isolated or more anxious, so this is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop interests and to get involved in Newtown’s green spaces.

“You might find yourself helping to look after Newtown’s community orchards one week and the next you might be working on a collaborative mural.”

Kate Morgan-Clare, creative producer at Oriel Davies Gallery, explained: “Previous creative experience isn’t essential to join our workshops. This is an opportunity to enjoy nature and meet other people.

“By working together with other organisations, people will have the chance to get involved in a fantastic mix of activities, run in green spaces and may even develop lifelong interests.”

The project is also being highlighted by the Welsh Government’s Help Us Help You campaign which is encouraging people to make some small changes to help protect and improve our own wellbeing.

Wellbeing in Green Spaces is part of a series nature-based partnership projects, co-ordinated by Open Newtown and funded by Welsh Government, centred around wellbeing and resilience of people and businesses in the town.

These new projects are supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government until June 2023.

If you want to kickstart your journey to a healthier lifestyle, but don’t know where to start, go to the Living and Feeling Well pages on the NHS 111 Wales website for tips and advice. Every change you make will help us help you.