£50K Grant awarded from National Social Prescribing scheme to support community groups in Dorset to deliver inclusive and creative nature-themed activities.

We are thrilled to announce that, in partnership with Stepping into Nature, Active Dorset and Help & Care, and with the support of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, we have been successful in securing a £50k grant from the Thriving Communities Fund awarded by the National Academy of Social Prescribing.

Our project, Nature Buddies: re-connecting to nature through activity, one of 37 across the country awarded funding, is for a year-long programme to upskill existing voluntary and community groups to deliver local activities for people who are referred by their Link Workers at their GP surgery, across Dorset and BCP.

Our project will deliver a series of training sessions around equality and diversity, mental health and dementia awareness. We will also deliver taster sessions for community groups with ideas on how to enhance their activities, as well as sessions for Link Workers to learn about available local activities and the benefits they have to offer. In addition, 30 volunteer Nature Buddies will be trained to help provide access to these activities for people with high anxiety and low levels of confidence.

“We are excited and proud to be awarded this grant from the funding partners National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England and look forward to working with our project partners and link workers, as well as local organisations, to deliver what we hope will be a sustainable approach to social prescribing embedded in local communities across the Dorset area.”
Jo March, Project Manager, Arts Development Company

“The project is designed to empower healthcare providers to support communities to access and enjoy nature-themed activities. The activities will help people meet like-minded others, learn new skills and feel happier and healthier.”
Julie Hammon, Project Coordinator, Stepping into Nature

What is Social Prescribing?

In social prescribing, health professionals such as GPs, refer patients to support in the community, in order to improve their health and wellbeing. Most GP practices now have what’s known as a Link Worker. Link Workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.


photo (c) Steph Aburrow