Branching Out

October 16, 2023

Branching out is a tried and tested initiative which was pioneered by Forestry Scotland in 2009. The programme consists of half a day of woodland activities per week, for a duration of 12 weeks, delivered in the woods or greenspaces accessible to communities.

FCCT is proud to bring Branching Out to our Fife communities. Especially now, in a time when it is needed more than ever.

In 2023, we have seen a decade or more of slowly declining mental health within our communities. Fife now has record levels of people in the community who are struggling with their mental health, but whom do not have a defined mental illness. Conditions such as Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Bipolar disorder and eating disorders are commonplace, however they can often be transient, not chronic, can change over time and can be curable with lifestyle changes or medication and often both. Many people in the community suffer from these conditions and will go undiagnosed.

Numerous modern studies demonstrate that outdoor and greenspace activities can be an effective supplementary therapy for people with a range of mental and physical disorders. Mental health benefits include better ability to focus and enhanced cognitive capacity, as well as improved mood and self-esteem.

Our programme is informed by these studies and was originally designed in partnership between Scottish Forestry and the NHS.

What is involved?  

It is a 12-week programme in which a group of 12 participants come along for a few hours, one day a week. Participants will engage in a wide range of woodland activities including conservation, art with natural materials, mindfulness, photography, and bush craft.  Activities will be underpinned by personal development sessions and participants will simultaneously complete the John Muir Award if they wish.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is designed for anyone who is being impacted negatively by sustained periods of low mood and poor mental health. It’s also suitable for people with diagnosed mental health issues.

Where will it be delivered?  

Programme locations will vary from course to course. Venues are chosen for their quality as a programme resource along with their proximity to services and service users.

How can I get referred? 

If you are an existing ser4vice user and would like to be referred onto our programme, please ask your support worker to use our online referral form and contact us, we will be happy to discuss any questions they may have. If you are not an existing service user, please contact Aidan Duncan to discuss suitability.

Download our Branching Out Flyer

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust deliver a range of Environmental Education options visit our website page to find out more or book a session.