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Mental Health North East

A better future for Stanley

A project to help people heal from the effects of Coronavirus is preparing to launch in the North East.

Replanting for A Better Future will take small groups of people from the Stanley area to spend the day at Muddy Boots Horticultural Centre.

The project, run by Mental Health North East, has been supported by a £5,000 grant through County Durham Community Foundation and National Emergencies Trust.

Small groups of people will be invited to the centre to take part in activities, talk about their Covid-19 experiences and plan for a better future.

Sustainable communities

Lyn Boyd, from Mental Health North East, said: “It’s been a lot of work but the groups we’ve spoken to are excited. This is the first project that’s talked about healing.

“We’re doing lots of groundwork to make it as safe as possible and will make sure people feel really welcome. We want them to do an activity that suits them – such as gardening or arts and crafts.

“It will be a tailored experience that’s really good for people, that respects them and allows them to talk about Covid-19.

“The sessions will end with looking to the future – how are people going to go forward and what’s the plan.”

Good health and wellbeing

Through her own experiences, Lyn is a passionate advocate of getting people out into the countryside. She explained: “When my daughter developed mental health problems I was stunned by how poor the services were.

“I started volunteering to take young people with different diagnoses up to Kielder reservoir or white-water rafting.

“Every one of them came back feeling much better and remained well for at least three months.

“I remember a lot of the old mental health homes would have huge gardens around them or opportunities for people to garden or work on the land.

“We have noticed that in towns like Stanley, people don’t always get out into the surrounding countryside. We’ve done walks in the past and people enjoy it so much. They are really delighted when they see a rabbit of a deer.”

The project expects to help around 80 people. It is an extension of Mental Health North East’s Greening the Gap project, which has a proven track record of working with hard-to-reach people in a countryside environment. Mental Health North East works with people suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, eating disorders and other issues with mental health.

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