ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FEASIBILITY STUDY - MIND ABERYSTWYTH
One of the most promising services that MIND Aberystwyth offers is an ecotherapy group. The weekly ecotherapy service allows around 15 people per week who are affected by mental health concerns and autistic spectrum disorders to enjoy safe, structured activities in a natural environment. The activities are varied and aim to promote a variety of skills and therapeutic methods from woodland management to basket making. The sessions provide a social outlet and promote exercise, relationship building and teamwork.
The intention of the environmental social enterprise feasibility study was to explore new activities for existing users and to open up the service to the public – still providing a safe and welcoming environment for those with mental health concerns.
The feasibility study looked into developing the existing ecotherapy service by firstly establishing a location for the project, then transforming the existing service into a community hub of facilities and adventure activities, creating a centre for ecotherapy, incorporating a forest school, green gym, after school club and outdoor children’s nursery and creating a café and small conference centre.
The study concluded that there is significant potential for the development of an ecotherapy service in Ceredigion. It found that Ceredigion is well-placed in regard to the attributes needed to provide a wide range of ecotherapy services. It also recognised, however, that there would be a reliance on the county’s transport network, which may represent a barrier in accessing such a service.
The feasibility study has already been beneficial for Mind Aberystwyth, particularly in shaping their thinking around how to proceed with ecotherapy, but also in regard to linking up with other providers in the area who have similar intentions.
The report itself will be greatly beneficial to the local community as well as Mind and can be seen by clicking here.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.