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How A Dose of Nature Can Make You Feel Much Better

Published on: 8 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 8 Sep, 2022

A new service to help people suffering with their mental health by giving them the opportunity, with support, to spend time outside surrounded by nature, is coming to Guildford.

The project is called A Dose of Nature and the plan is that over a 10-week period a person meets a volunteer guide in a natural space once a week and visits nature independently every day.

Together they plan where and when they will spend time in natural environments. During their weekly meetings in nature, the guide demonstrates to the person a variety of exercises and activities, encouraging them to engage all their senses in order to gain maximum health benefits from their time in nature.

Alongside this one-to-one contact, people are also given the opportunity to link with others and to make their own arrangements to meet for walks or to visit natural environments together.

People who access and take part in the service are referred by a GP, in some ways similar to the now established social prescription service provided by GP surgeries.

Dose of Nature is a charity currently operating in south-west London. Since it began in 2019, it has provided more than 450 Dose of Nature prescriptions to people referred to it by 62 GPs from 25 practices across the boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Kingston upon Thames.

The psychological benefits of being in nature can be experienced in any natural green space.

It says that people who have benefitted from the service currently range in age from 18 to 91 years, although in response to demand, it has recently agreed to extend its programme to young people aged 14 to 18 years.

Alongside the individual nature prescriptions, the project also offers well-being workshops and teaching the wider public the benefits of spending more time outside in natural spaces. Previous groups have included students, young parents, older adults, teachers, psychologists, refugees, survivors of domestic abuse, carers, charity leaders, NHS workers and firefighters.

Dose of Nature says: “You don’t need to have access to forests or rolling hills: the psychological benefits of being in nature can be experienced in any natural green space, such as a local park, riverside tow path or city garden.

“You don’t need to be physically active: although there are additional health benefits of the increased activity that is often a by-product of regular visits to natural environments, simply being in nature and engaging with it in a mindful way can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.”

The Dose of Nature project also offers well-being workshops and teaching the wider public the benefits of spending more time outside in natural spaces.

Dose of Nature has been awarded a grant of £100,000 by Surrey County Council to help fund a new hub in the area to the north of Guildford.

The four GP surgeries that Dose of Nature will be working with in the first instance are: Dapdune House Surgery, Fairlands Surgery, Guildowns Group Practice and the Woodbridge Hill Surgery.

It will be setting up its Guildford base at the National Trust’s Dapdune Wharf site off Woodbridge Road.

Dose of Nature is now recruiting for volunteer guides.

The project is recruiting empathetic, compassionate volunteers with a love of the outdoors to train as guides.

You do not need any specific knowledge or experience to be a Dose of Nature volunteer, just an enthusiasm for working with people and spending time in nature. Comprehensive training will be given.

Volunteers who would like to apply can go online to doseofnature.org.uk/support-us to download an
application form.

Click here for more details about the project on Dose of Nature’s website.

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