As part of the Green Social Prescribing project in Plymouth, Argyle Community Trust are currently delivering a range of weekly activities which aim to encourage people from the local community to become more physically active and get back into the great outdoors. It has also been found that physical activity has also had a positive impact on participant’s mental health, reducing social isolation and improving their overall wellbeing.
In particular, a Compassionate Café has been delivered, in partnership with St. Luke’s Hospice, throughout the summer aimed at supporting older people who are at risk of isolation and have also possibly recently gone through bereavement. Within the session participants get the opportunity to meet and have a chat with people who may be in a similar situation as well as receive 1-to-1 support from Compassionate Friends volunteers if they need it. The session also includes a walk around the park to encourage increasing physical activity levels as well.
An example of someone who has benefitted from the project is Garth. Having unfortunately lost his wife of over 50 years during lockdown Garth attended the Compassionate Café and walking groups. After receiving support and making some new friends Garth wanted to give back and, after finding out Garth has been a keen Bowls player for many years, he started supporting our beginners Bowls session, which was also set up as part of the project.
Garth said, “It’s helping me to come to terms with not having a wife, not staying in, and meeting people who have been in the same situation. It really has helped me a lot. It has been amazing as it has helped me help other people. Since the lockdown just getting out into the fresh air has really encouraged people to come and do things they wouldn’t normally do. Bowls is just one of them. Bowls is normally a quiet game but here, because we have fun and a good laugh, we make a lot of noise.”