New report says voluntary work in the natural world can bring mental health benefits

PUBLISHED: 16:11 23 October 2017

REPORT: Volunteers working at Houghton Meadow

REPORT: Volunteers working at Houghton Meadow

Archant

A new report which shows that carrying out voluntary work in the natural world can bring mental health benefits has been welcomed by the Wildlife Trusts which cover the Huntingdonshire area.

The trusts, which is involved in 15 nature reserves in the district, including the 9,000 acre Great Fen project, commissioned the University of Essex to draw up a report looking into the effects of voluntary work.

It showed 95 per cent of participants with poor levels of mental health reported an improvement over six weeks and 69 per cent of all participants had a greater sense of wellbeing over the same period.

The greatest sense of improvement was amongst those who were new to volunteering with the trusts and those with poor levels of mental health at the start.

The publication of the report coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Dr Mike Rogerson, from the University of Essex, said: “Our findings across three phases of research have begun to evidence the wealth of health and wellbeing benefits provided through Wildlife Trust activities.

“The research revealed how volunteering with meaningful nature and craft-focussed activities may be beneficial to both the general public and individuals with defined needs.”

The local branch of the Wildlife Trusts has regular weekly working parties at Cambridgeshire nature reserves and details can be found at ww.wildlifebcn.org/work-parties .

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