This year VICTA has been working very hard to create a lots of outdoor opportunities, ways to meaningfully engage with nature, promoting the links between gardening and well-being. As a charity, we recognise that there are many barriers faced by young people who are visually impaired and their ability to connect with the UK’s green spaces. There are also very strong links between people who have been diagnosed with a mental health issue and visual impairment. Our work this year has been aimed towards helping to bridge that gap.
As parents, it is our job to assist our children to develop their confidence when accessing the outdoors. We can do this by:
- Helping them to navigate the areas safely
- Feeding back to the green spaces that you visit if you feel there are issues with accessibility
- Pre-planning visits to get the best experience
- Completing fun/multi sensory activities that help derive more meaning from the visit
- Regular attendance
- Narrating the areas visual appearance
- Educating about the importance of conservation
How can nature benefit our mental health?
Spending time outdoors and engaging with nature daily benefits both your mental and physical health. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects. It can:
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you make new connections
- provide peer support
We have found this great resource created by Thrive that gives 28 different daily activities that you can complete throughout the month of November up until the end of autumn.
Thrive “are dedicated and passionate about the health benefits that gardening, horticulture and spending time in nature can bring and our aim is to ensure that people with varying needs have the opportunity to access therapeutic gardening and horticulture programmes, wherever they live, and are actively encouraged to use gardening as part of their personal health and wellbeing management.
We have over 40 years’ experience of an approach called social and therapeutic horticulture (STH), where trained horticultural therapists work with plants and people to improve an individual’s physical and psychological health, communication and thinking skills.
Gardening can bring profound positive change, from improvements in physical and mental well-being to gaining skills, knowledge and abilities.”
Click here to view the calendar of the Thrive website!
Click here for the activity guides for all of the ideas included on the calendar above!
We would love to hear from you if you have had any ideas of your own. If so, please do get in touch!