The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) the Trust currently manages 65 nature reserves across Gloucestershire, with a team experienced in both conservation and community work.

Its vision is for there to be ‘more wildlife, more wild places and more people with a connection to the natural world.’  In 2017 the Pilgrim Trust agreed to fund The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to develop and deliver an innovative two-year pilot aimed at helping disadvantaged and vulnerable women to transform chaotic lives through contact with ‘nature in a safe and enjoyable way’.

 


The Wild for Nature project has provided a series of fully funded, women only, day-long courses for those who have experienced complex issues such as risk of homelessness, chaotic lifestyles and who are at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. The course aimed to help improve the health and well-being, of this vulnerable group through a variety of outdoor activities.

The Pilgrim Trust provided grant funding for the Community Wildlife Officer and support worker, both with a wealth of experience working with women who have been through traumatic experiences. GWT developed a close working relationship with the referral agencies such as Change Grow Live and The Nelson Trust to identify suitable participants and ensure that those attending had the right support during the course days.  The women on the course navigated their way around nature reserves, learned about the wildlife they found as they explored their local green spaces. This meant working individually as well as working with others, helping to build their communication, team working and problem-solving skills. They had the opportunity to try photography and mindfulness which has helped them explore new interests and develop different perspectives of the world around them.

The project enabled the women taking part to explore their creativity, widened their knowledge of nature and for some participants meant an improvement in their employability skills.  A significant proportion of the women described how the course had benefited their overall health and well-being and they felt better connected to nature, having found new ways to express and ground themselves, key outcomes to help them move forwards from chaotic lives.

Images with kind permission of The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust