How nature can heal

Spending time in nature helps people recover their mental health

The Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege has been an international ambassador of the Postcode Lotteries since 2019. For twenty years, at the risk of his own life, the gynaecologist has been working for victims of wartime rape. Often these women were horrifically mutilated. In 2018, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his good work.

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting a project designed to fight the isolation and loneliness. The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery was awarded £880,000 (over 1 Million Euros) in funding.

Photos: Toby Roxburgh

This Spring we highlight great examples of social initiatives the Postcode Lotteries are supporting. Part 2: how nature can heal, a project supported by the People's Postcode Lottery in Great-Britain.

The project will see around 400 people experiencing poor mental health prescribed nature by doctors and other healthcare professionals.

People referred to the project will spend time surrounded by the natural beauty of Morecambe Bay, on England’s northwest coast, with growing evidence showing that more time in nature helps improve mental health.

Recover from problems
The initiative brings together The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, the Eden Project and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. It has been funded by players of People's Postcode Lottery and awarded as part of the Postcode Recovery Fund, designed to help communities recover from problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants will take part in activities including guided walks to discover marine life, beach cleans and coastal art, enabling local people to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of the coastal environment while encouraging conservation of this internationally significant site, which is under threat from climate change.

Visiting The Bay

Important bird area
Recognised as a Special Protection Area, Morecambe Bay is one of the most important areas for birds in all of Europe.

With over 250,000 birds flying in every year, there are more birds in northwest England in winter than summer because so many overwinter at Morecambe Bay. The mudflats from Barrow to Fleetwood provide a vital feeding ground for lapwings, curlews and redshanks.

Warton Crag, which overlooks the whole bay, is home to rare butterflies including the pearl-bordered fritillary and the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon. The protection and conservation of this wildlife will also play a large part in the project.

Positive impact on wellbeing
Rob Letham, managing director at People’s Postcode Lottery, visited Morecambe Bay to learn more about the project. He said:  "During my visit to Morecambe Bay I was struck by the beautiful views and the cacophony of bird sounds."

Letham continues: "Reconnecting with nature can have such a positive impact on people’s wellbeing. From speaking to some of the people taking part in the programme, it’s clear that taking time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the seaside together is helping to improve mental health issues, including depression and anxiety."

He is delighted that thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, The Bay is celebrating what nature can offer us. "They are creating an exciting range of opportunities for the whole community to come together and enjoy."

People's Postcode Lottery: more than £850 Million in funding

The players of People's Postcode Lottery are making a difference every single day by supporting a wide range of charities and good causes across Britain and around the world.  To date, they've generously provided more than £850 Million in funding which is helping thousands of organisations and projects.