Focus on Branching Out South Aberdeenshire

Last week we reported on the 2020 Biodiversity Champion Awards announced by North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership (NESBiP).

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 6:55 am

Here we focus on one of the winners, Branching Out South Aberdeenshire (BOSA) which offers 12-week, woodland-based programmes to support mental health recovery through nature connection.

Open to referrals for adults, BOSA provides an inclusive and welcoming space to explore challenges to mental health and gain the therapeutic benefits of time spent in nature. Research evidence for the powerful effect of greenspace continues to mount; coupled with the supportive community that BOSA offers, many participants are finding new paths to recovery. Nature-centred activities are supported by a team of outdoor and mental health professionals and include bushcraft, wildlife walks, conservation, campfire cooking, environmental art. At the end of each programme, participants are invited to join BOSA’s growing community of Branching Out PLUS, with regular meets to encourage ongoing outdoor engagement and support.

A spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to receive this Award from NESBiP. It’s a privilege to contribute to the biodiversity of our woodland base at NTS Crathes, alongside NE Ranger Service. This has become a special place for us where we have come to understand that wild spaces need us, just as much as we need them - for the hugely positive effects they have on our mental health and sense of well-being. Inspired by the work of John Muir, participants have also gained John Muir Discovery Awards as part of their programme and gone on to contribute to biodiversity projects local to their own communities. Branching Out South Aberdeenshire is a working partnership between Scottish Forestry’s Outdoor and Woodland Learning North East Group (OWLNEG), Alcohol & Drugs Action (ADA), Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH), NE Ranger Service and South (Deeside) Community Mental Health Team. “Funding is gratefully acknowledged from The National Lottery Community Fund, Alcohol & Drugs Partnership, NHS Grampian and Baillie Gifford Community Awards Programme."