Compassionate Communities NI was delighted to have partnered with Creggan Country Park on a Health, Wellbeing and Environmental Nature Therapy Project. The pilot project ran with 12 participants over 4 weeks at Creggan Country Park throughout April and May.
the project used a holistic approach to engage local older people through social interaction, physical activity, creativity, art and nature. The organisers recognise that as an ageing population it is very important that people assess their own wellbeing so that they can take steps to improve their chances of a longer ‘health span’ as they age.
Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, Creggan Country Park said,
“We were delighted to be working with Compassionate Communities NI on this unique project. It has helped to highlight the importance of our connection to nature – to take care of nature we take care of ourselves and vice versa. Using nature as a tool, we helped create fun socialising opportunities outdoors so that participants could focus on mindfulness in order to reduce stress and improve mood and overall wellbeing. Feedback has been so positive, this is just the first of many sessions and we look forward to developing a wider project with Compassionate Communities NI. We would like to say a massive thank you to our funder Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland for making all this possible.”
Compassionate Communities NI work to support people to live as well as possible until the end of life; they are acutely aware of the challenges facing older people who often manage multiple health concerns whilst juggling caring responsibilities for partners, ageing parents and grandchildren.
Susanne Bergin, Community Engagement Facilitator, said,
‘Living well in later life is a compassion-based holistic programme that engages older people. The aim was for people to connect, be physically active in nature, get creative in art, and practice mindful and meditation. From the outset people were encouraged to reflect on what is important for them to live a fulfilled life because a life lived with purpose and connection is important for people to live well right up to end of life.’
Sharon Williams, Project Manager, Compassionate Communities NI, praised the work of the partnership, ‘This has been a wonderful project to be a part of. It has demonstrated the therapeutic value in connecting with nature and how this promotes healthy ageing; hosting the project in the heart of our local community also helped promote community assets such as Creggan Country Park.’
Wheel of life – helps us see what really matters to us individually
Holisitic approaches help us stay well
Loved mindfulness and meditations
Reconnected with my childhood love of painting
Better coping mechanisms
Mental Health First Aid – this helped lots
Nature Therapy – getting outdoors doing mindfulness was great
Art Sessions – Out doors – connecting with nature and being creative