• Opening doors to nature: Bringing calm and raising aspirations of vulnerable young people through nature-based intervention

      Hallam, Jenny; Richardson, Miles; Richardson, Elizabeth; Ferguson, Fiona; University of Derby (American Psychological Association, 2019-07-08)
      This qualitative study explores the experiences of YMCA residents who participated in a nature-based intervention designed to support wellbeing run by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and YMCA Derbyshire. The intervention ran over 9 weeks and involved taking groups of residents off site for a range of outdoor activities from allotment gardening to nature conservation in various outdoor environments.  After the intervention took place semi-structured interviews, which explored the personal journeys of 8 residents who had participated in the intervention, were conducted. An IPA analysis of the interviews identified three superordinate themes: building social relationships, developing skills and developing feelings of self-worth and managing emotions through nature. It is argued that the intervention enabled the residents to feel part of a supportive community which enabled a positive shift in identity. Furthermore, the programme helped residents manage their emotions, supporting their mental health and promoting a general sense of wellbeing. This is especially important, given that members of the intervention have a history of mental health issues and often come from a background of higher socio-economic deprivation, where opportunities for social cohesion and nature connectedness are scarce.