There is ever increasing evidence that being active amongst nature is a highly effective way of improving mental wellbeing as well as physical health.
However, we know that for lots of people it’s not easy to get out there to benefit from exploring the woodland and countryside in their area. Fear of getting lost, personal safety, lack of skills, confidence levels, or simply not having anyone to go with are amongst the reasons for this.
We’re very passionate about helping people overcome these barriers. So, over the past few years, we have been on a mission to introduce people to the joys of what has become known as ‘trail therapy’ through the activities we organise. And it’s been a real pleasure to watch the fitness, confidence and wellbeing of many of our participants grow as a result, and for strong friendships to develop amongst them.
As a small team though, we know we’ve only been scratching the surface of the number of people who could benefit from this kind of activity. We’re thrilled, therefore, to have been awarded a National Forest Society Grant to increase the number of activity leaders (aka ‘Trail Therapists’) in the area. A project that will be delivered in conjunction with our friends at Swadlincote based Swad Joggers.
To kick this off we’re looking for up to 5 individuals to join the project and, over the next few months, put them through a programme of training* and support that will equip them to lead groups on running and walking activities in the green space of the National Forest area.
If putting something back into the community in your area by becoming a Trail Therapy run/walk leader is of interest to you, this is a great opportunity to access a wide range of training and support that is free to you. Although most of our run/walk leaders operate as volunteers alongside a day job or other commitments, the training provided may also provide a steppingstone to paid work in the outdoor industry for those interested.
To be eligible you should:
Reside within or close to the National Forest area
Be passionate about helping people improve their health and wellbeing
Have the fitness to jog at least 5k (or be willing to develop it)
Be willing to commit time to training and development between April and October 2023 (likely to be an average of around 3 hours per week, mostly evenings and weekends, and include a few full day sessions)
Be willing to act as volunteer run/walk leader or assistance leader for at least 2 years following completion of the programme (average of around once per month minimum)
Be 18 years old or above
*Training will be tailored to individual needs, with subject matter including route planning, navigation, first aid, mental health and environmental matters, as well as a run/walk leader course.
If you are interested, please get in touch before 10th April 2023 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07700 177325.