Empowering people to improve their green spaces, enhance their environment, and boost wellbeing.
Our project brings together people with mental health issues to help improve a forgotten area within Dartford's Central Park for the benefit of wildlife. The Ecology Island has a variety of riverside wildlife such as water voles, and a sense of peace that is rarely found in urban environments. Sadly, the site is rarely used and attracts antisocial behaviour and fly tipping; brambles are taking over, and invasive Himalayan Balsam is clogging up the river banks. The island is in desperate need of regular care and use. So far, we have put in dead hedges (vital habitat), cleared the river of litter, and planted saplings to increase the variety of trees. We need your assistance to keep the project funded for the future because the site has great potential for wildlife and people. Our group has become a family, working towards a common goal and able to share our feelings in a safe space. With funding, we will be able to come every week, help the environment and feel better in doing so.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
This is an opportunity to achieve two wonderful outcomes through one project - rescuing a beautiful woodland space and allowing a group of people with mental health issues to benefit from volunteering outdoors. This site has amazing potential – given the chance it could be a jewel in the heart of Dartford for both wildlife and people. The woodland and river are home to a wide range of species such as the endangered water vole; we wish to maintain their habitat so that these animals continue to thrive here. Growing spaces would combine the need for healthy eating options with providing food sources for birds and insects. This group has formed a close bond through taking ownership of the site; they feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and feelings in this safe space, without the fear of stigma which is so often attached to mental health issues. Funding to allow our group to meet over a longer period of time would provide hope for the future; a bright light on dark days.
Steps to get it done:
Please watch our project video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGWVSV57tlM Staff from North West Kent Countryside Partnership will be present weekly to lead the conservation activities, and make sure that the site is managed in the best possible way for its wildlife. Staff from North Kent Mind will be present weekly to help the group through any tough moments and make sure they feel totally supported at all times.
About the space
Ecology Island - a secluded woodland area with the River Darent running alongside.
Dartford Borough Council
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