The Benefits of Branching OutThu, 20th Apr 2023
This week saw our Dumfries young people start Dumfries and Galloway Outdoor and Woodland Learning’s Branching Out Programme!
We have been delighted that young people from all three of our sites have been given the option to take part in the rewarding programme of outdoor learning, with Stranraer starting their sessions last September and Castle Douglas starting this March. Branching Out is an outdoor nature-based programme of activities which is delivered by the Dumfries and Galloway Outdoor and Woodland Learning group in partnership with Scottish Forestry, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
The Branching Out Programme is predominantly aimed at adults with poor mental health and wellbeing and focuses on areas of higher deprivation, which normally do not have access to services due to inaccessibility, or other barriers. The 12-week course provides 36 hours of therapeutic outdoor learning and shows the health benefits of being outdoors. We are delighted that Dumfries and Galloway Outdoor and Woodland Learning has partnered with us to provide this opportunity to our young people in all 3 of our sites!
Some of the activities our young people have enjoyed are:
- Fire lighting and campfire cooking
- Putting up and relaxing in hammocks
- Building tarpaulin shelter
- Learning how to put up our own rope swings
- Nordic Swining Braid Plaits
- gentle exercises such as a short walk and some stretches or tai chi
In Stranraer, where they have already completed the programme, Branching Out is considered an astounding success. It has given each of the young people who attended an opportunity to learn new skills which they can take with them if they were to ever do another outdoor / woodland activity. And they all have wonderful memories of the programme.
From their first session, our young people in Dumfries are looking forward to continuing the programme. Shona said: “I enjoyed being out in the fresh air and being away from screen time”.
While Emma said: “I enjoyed today’s sessions because I learned a new skill”.