Project information

Avon Tyrrell Eco-health Community Project

'Ecotherapy' provides lasting and transformational effects on those suffering mental health issues. In our New Forest community and in conjunction with local agencies, the project will provide essential social contact, training and support through gardening and conservation work at Avon Tyrrell.

June 2009 - June 2012

Charity information: UK Youth

UK Youth logo
  • Need


    Research has found that this type of ‘ecotherapy’ can be highly beneficial to people with mental health problems. In a recent study, after just one country walk, 90 per cent of participants had increased self-esteem and 70 per cent reported decreased feelings of depression. One in four people experience mental distress yet there is still a lot of stigma about mental health problems. Getting out of the house, back into work or training is a massive problem - a real vicious circle to break.


    Social contact has been shown to be the most important factor in gaining better understanding. By carrying out supportive and practical projects like this, we hope to improve the local environment and hope to promote the inclusion of people with mental health problems into the community, breaking down barriers and helping to combat mental health discrimination.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    From 2009-12 provide placements for local people to take part in the Ecohealth project.


    » 2009, gain funding & employ a project officer to set up the programme of tasks, support & referrals from the Community Mental Health Team (completed)
    » 2011 onwards, due to success & demand, employ a support worker for remainder of project.

    What success will look like

    Success will be 100 local people attending the project upto June 2012 and at least 50% going on to further training, work or volunteering.

  • Impact


    The project will provide invaluable opportunities for people with mental health issues to get back into work or training, to build confidence, relationships and self-esteem. It will do much to reduce the associated prejudice and stigma in society. Success is demonstrated by monitoring the number of people attending, the feedback and defined as more than 50 people going on to further work, training or volunteering opportunities.


    It becoming too popular, it has and the current supervisor can't fulfil - there is a risk of not enough support to cover driving the minibus to pick people up and drop them off each day, to cover the Supervisor’s leave and generally to work on tasks with and 1:1 support the participants. We have dealt with this by fundraising to get a p/t support worker for the project supervisor up until March 2011 but we need to raise more to reach beyond this and meet the demand for places .


    Quarterly written emailable reports to donors covering all aspects of the project, what's been done, what's planned, individual sucesses etc. The participants also produce a newsletter and have a webpage.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £17,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £17,500 Support Worker P/t 30hr salary, pension & NI from March 2011 to June 2012

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Hampshire County Council £2,000 Guaranteed
    Charitable Trust £1,000 Guaranteed
    Solent Mind £2,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Based at Avon Tyrrell, a listed country house and estate in the New Forest run by the charity 'UK Youth' as an outdoor activity & training centre for 20,000 disadvantaged young people and the local community each year. Avon Tyrrell is a beautiful historic site with a long history of providing recreational and educational opportunities for people who wouldn't normally get the chance to experience such. The range of activities there have made a real difference to the lives of many people.


    Local people suffering mental distress across the 120,000 New Forest population - rural isolation excerbates problems, providing transport and lunch helps but our long experience in providing worthwhile outdoor tasks at Avon Tyrrell (that benefits all visitors ultimately), a friendly environment, being part of the team and support really benefits individuals. We have physical projects to see, case studies and feedback to confirm this.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    UK Youth has a 100 year history (65 at Avon Tyrrell) of developing and running innovative high qulaity non--formal educational and volunteering opportunities. The eco-health project is an example of this where we secured funding to set up a pilot in 2009 and are now aiming to broaden the scop and reach of it. We have developed great local partnerships and community links at our Avon Tyrrell base which contributes to the success of the projects we do.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mel Johnson, Eco-Health Project Supervisor

    Mel is an experienced & qualified teacher of outdoor education & countryside skills and was recruited to set up and co-ordinate the project.

    Louis Bonney, UK Youth Projects Director

    18 years experience running Avon Tyrrell Centre, countryside management, health & safety, overseeing and fundraising for specific projects like this.

    Harry Holland, Eco-Health Project Support Worker

    Currently funded until March 2011, drives participants, works on practical tasks - his role is essential for reaching the target participants.

    Penny Pearl, Solent Mind Vocational Advisor

    Coordinates New Forest Community Mental Health Team referrals to project, provides on-going support and follow-ups for participants.

Avon Tyrrell Eco-health project participants

Avon Tyrrell Eco-health project participants


will pay for support worker for 15 months

1 in 4 people, like me, has a mental health problem. Many more people have a problem with that.

Stephen Fry