Discovering Wellness in the Lancaster District: The Bay – A Blueprint for Recovery
Hi, I’m Jenny and I am the Community Health Officer at Lancaster District CVS, responsible for administrating our fantastic community resource – the Digital Directory of Services – https://directory.lancastercvs.org.uk
I have spent the last year visiting hundreds of voluntary, community, faith and not-profit services that benefit everyone’s health and wellbeing as well as meeting with lots of statutory health professionals delivering valuable health services across our district.
There are now nearly 400 services from across these sectors listed in the directory with about the same waiting to be entered by myself and my fabulous volunteers. This is an evolving, growing and vital asset for the Lancaster district.
This fantastic resource is already being used across our district to help people find new hobbies and interest for themselves, support with loved ones ill-health, support with individual’s long term health conditions, support with understanding what is out there that can help you and me stay well.
This is the first of our new health and wellbeing blog series, over the next few months and years we will be shining the spotlight on individual services listed in the Directory, helping you discover more about the service and helping us promote this amazing local directory.
We visited Alex (Project Officer with the Bay) and his group members at the nature and wellbeing session in Happy Mount Park in Morecambe, to find out how and why it is helping people with their wellbeing.
Greeted by Alex and Sally (Bay trainee) at the gates to the park, happily for us it was a glorious sunny day and Morecambe Bay was doing itself proud! We joined them during the “Big Butterfly Count” and spent a wonderful half an hour engrossed in spotting a variety of species of the fluttery kind and learning all about them from Dr Alex (Phd in butterflies!)
Joining us on the session were a mixed group of people all from different backgrounds, of different ages and all with different reasons for being there; some were struggling with their mental health – feeling isolated and lonely and cooped up at home or were new to Morecambe and looking to make new friends, others were facing impossible personal situations and desperately in need of some time away from life’s everyday pressures.
The sessions are loosely themed around the 5 ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give, it was easy to see what the benefits of just spending a couple of hours in your local park with like-minded, non-judgemental, new friends can do for your health and wellbeing.
We wondered slowly round the park identifying a diverse range of wild plants that are helpful and harmful to the caterpillar to butterfly journey. We moved on to the stone circle near the play area, it was lovely and quiet and the perfect opportunity for reflection.
Alex produced a strange cylindrical metal thing with holes in the top and the bottom (a Kelly kettle) and asked “anyone for a brew?”
Intrigued we watched as one of the group began to expertly build a small fire and water was boiled in the Kelly kettle. Moments later we were relaxing with a cuppa sharing news of the week, feeling inspired by drawings people had done of wildlife spots and discussing ideas for future sessions. We discovered that only the week before the group had successfully made “Crumble” over the fire!
The Bay- A Blueprint is a partnership project between Lancashire Wildlife Trust, The Eden Project and Cumbria Wildlife Trust, as well as these fabulous sessions in Happy Mount Park Alex also runs sessions in Lancaster on a Tuesday and they have a community hub in the Arndale Centre in Morecambe, open on Thursdays for people to pop by and say hi. They run many community events around the area as well focussing mostly on our beautiful natural asset – Morecambe Bay.
If you think you may benefit from joining one of Alex’s sessions, get in touch via this link you can self-refer or someone can help you get in touch.
Give it a go… a little something of magic is happening in Happy Mount Park!
If you’d like more information on how to include your organisation on the directory, or any general queries or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact [email protected]