Project Stories

Erleigh Elders

Proof you’re never too old to embrace nature or try new skills.

“This group has inspired me to revisit ways to get back into the community after a serious illness.”

Our green social prescribing project created a fun, inclusive and supportive opportunity for older people in an urban area of East Reading to meet like-minded people, engage in craft and connect to nature, helping them feel less isolated and improving their physical and mental health.

“This group allows me to meet other people as I spend a lot of time on my own, alleviating my loneliness and boredom. The environmental craft aspect is what attracted me to the class.”

Recognising and overcoming fear

Meeting and engaging others meaningfully and regularly can feel challenging when you reach a certain age. Physical health and worries about the risks of being outdoors can often stop older people from leaving their homes, exacerbating mental health and feelings of isolation.

As passionate advocates for connecting all ages of the community to nature on their doorstep, we were determined to do something different. With funding from The Earley Charity and collaboration with the Earley Environmental Group, we delivered a six-week programme to unite older adults at the Maiden Erleigh Nature Reserve.

Our community-led solution

Fuelled by delicious homemade cake produced by a local elderly baker, we introduced the group to a range of nature-based crafts accessible to all abilities, like watercolour painting and making seasonal decorations. Afterwards, we  walked together by the lake and fed the ducks.

Our community-led approach encouraged everyone to get involved, learn new skills and gain confidence. It quickly became apparent that these free sessions had become a significant part of people’s lives, creating a sense of purpose and fulfilment and fostering those all-important social connections and friendships to combat loneliness.