Project: Wild Ways Well, Livingston
Providing opportunities for people to live happier and healthier lives through experiencing the greenspaces in the local area and the natural world around them
The project supports patients, staff and visitors to St John’s Hospital in Livingston to access and experience the natural spaces, species and activities that are on their doorstep. By doing this we want to support more people to live happier, healthier lives.
By taking part, people will be supported to realise just how easy it is to build contact with nature into their daily lives and the benefits that this can bring.
How you can take part
We offer free events and activities throughout the year.
Check our events page for upcoming events or contact Paul Barclay for more information: 07795 800970 or [email protected].
What we are doing
We are supporting people to spend more time outdoors amongst nature and working with them to realise the many ways the natural world can be accessed and experienced, quickly and easily, with minimal cost, equipment or experience. By creating opportunities for people, especially those who are less used to spending time outdoors, to experience their local greenspaces we want to create connections to natural world. Through these activities we are developing relationships between people and the natural world around them and aim to understand the barriers that prevent people from using the local greenspaces and work together to help remove them.
How we are doing it
We understand that in today’s modern society many people are so divorced from nature, or are in such a difficult position in their lives, that simply stepping outdoors can be daunting. At the same time, we also know that scientific research shows that this contact with nature is vital for everyone’s wellbeing – and there is a wealth of natural resources and opportunities to experience nature right on the doorsteps of St John’s Hospital and its surrounding community.
Building on TCV’s successful ‘Wild Ways Well’ model, we are working with the Hospital and the nearby Community Wellbeing Hub, as well as local community partners, to run regular Wild Ways Well sessions in and around the Hospital grounds and the local area. Wild Ways Well utilises the internationally recognised Five Ways to Wellbeing mental health framework and combines it with access to nature and greenspaces to provide support for anyone that needs it.
Staff from TCV are working with participants to design content appropriate for their experience and abilities, as well as offering regular sessions which are open for anyone to attend.
- Provide a safe, supported setting for people to actively discover local greenspaces and to move between and within them.
- Connect people with the natural world through simple actions like watching wildlife or trying out nature crafts.
- Create opportunities to learn new skills like how to identify flowers and trees, or survey for bumblebees and listen for birdcalls.
- Share what we have learned about local history, natural folklore and traditional outdoor skills.
What happens at a Wild Ways Well Session?
Each session is unique and responds to the needs of the people attending but they follow a similar pattern.
We’ll take notice of the cycle of life and the seasons, helping everyone to understand the lessons that nature can teach us about life. By providing opportunities to be creative and time for people to immerse themselves in a natural setting we’ll help them to reflect on the world and their place within it.
We’ll also help people to give something back to nature and to the local community. We can plant trees and build bug hotels, feed the birds and make habitats for hedgehogs. In partnership with West Lothian Council, we will have access to spaces where we can try hands on activities like growing wildflowers or looking after fruit trees.
Participants will get a chance to give back to nature and to their community. We can help to conserve and protect the natural world by creating and managing spaces for wildlife, building bird houses, and monitoring biodiversity. We’ll share experiences and support each other to become more resilient and to absorb the lessons nature can teach us.
And we’ll do it all with a cup of tea!
By making and sharing hot drinks outdoors using traditional techniques, we can provide opportunities for people to engage with each other, as well as with nature, in a safe space where people are supported and empowered to be their real selves.
How you can take part
We offer free events and activities throughout the year:
- Wild Ways Well (open sessions) – These are regular sessions for anyone to attend, including gardening activities in the Howden Walled Garden and Wellbeing Walks in the Ladywell area. See our events page for details.
- Wild Ways Well (closed sessions) – These are designed to meet the needs of specific groups and spaces are limited to those groups. Please contact Paul Barclay for more information ().
- Pop up events and activities – You can join us for free events thoughtout the year. These will range form wildlife walks, arts activities and local history. These events will be added to our Events page as dates become available, so check back regularly to find out what’s coming up.