Flourish in Nature – a legacy toolkit

Flourish in Nature is a Devon based project that was funded for 3 years by Sport England. It is run and managed by EDP Drug & Alcohol Services with support from Active Devon and the Devon Wildlife Trust. The project delivers a range of outdoor activities and trains those in active recovery to grow into activity leaders with all the skills and qualifications to match. The fact that leaders have lived experience as well as a passion for their chosen activity elevated every active event from something that simply aided health, wellbeing and environmental understanding (normally these would be seen to be a golden trio in their own right) into meaningful, accessible mutual aid opportunities.

Even now, with funding having come to an end, activities like walking, yoga, tennis, cycling and tai chi are still taking place across Devon, thanks to the project’s built-in sustainability. Flourish in Nature was designed around EDP’s values as well as the 5 ways to wellbeing and every part of it has benefited from these foundations. EDP take pride in focusing on what’s strong, not what’s wrong and recognising the incredible added value of lived experience. There is a positive approach to risk to enable people to grow at their own pace and all those involved worked ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ participants. By embracing all these factors, Flourish in Nature has become not only successful in terms of its recovery outcomes, but also a rare success story in its sustainability.  

If you are thinking of setting up a project for people in recovery or who have additional needs in terms of accessing outdoor activities, take look at this invaluable toolkit before you go anywhere a funding application form!

Flourish in Nature

Flourish in Nature is a project funded by Sport England and one that works alongside EDP in order to assist recovery through nature and activity based means.

It puts on regular activities such as kayaking, walking, sea swimming, surfing, tai chi and cycling, and hopes to encourage people on their recovery journey to get out in their local communities, in order to meet new people and benefit their recovery journey in a safe, welcoming and most importantly, FUN environment.

It operates in two capacities:

  • It offers various nature based activities to the entire recovery community. The only requirement is that on the day of activity the participant must be free from substance. It’s a great chance to find additional support from those with lived experience, and also offers the opportunity to get out, forget about life’s problems and get into something new and exciting – meeting new friends along the way!
  • It gives the opportunity to those who are stable in recovery by 1 month to train with Devon Wildlife Trust to become Activity Leads/Flourish in Nature volunteers. This initial training opens up the idea of ‘flourishing’ in nature, and hopes to inspire participants into becoming more actively engaged with nature due to the benefits it has on offer. Following the successful completion of this training, activity leads are then given further opportunities to learn about and develop their passions. As such, Flourish in Nature offers either nature or sport based qualifications for activity leads to complete, ranging from outdoor first aid, yoga instructing, and canoe leader training to qualifications that enable an individual to coach boxing…. The list goes on and anything is possible, so long as it is either nature or physical activity based

With these useful qualifications, Activity Leads can then go onto lead their own activities that are open to the recovery community, which expands both the capacities of the project and the prospect of increased nature based recoveries.

If you’d like to know more about the project and how to get involved, feel free to contact either your recovery worker, Phoebe Parker or Lynne Cirasuolo:

Phoebe Parker (Flourish in Nature Facilitator)    |    O7825 659234    |    phoebeparker@together-devon.org.uk

Lynne Cirasuolo (Flourish in Nature Administrator)    |   07764815223    |     flourishinnature@together-devon.org.uk


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