Norfolk Green Care Network: connecting people with nature

Norfolk Green Care Network’s mission is to connect people with nature. Carlyn Kilpatrick and Nigel Boldero launched this initiative just over 12 months ago. As a network, we bring together 200 projects, people and organisations who believe in the power of connecting with nature and are actively involved or interested in fostering Green Care.

Green Care is an umbrella term for nature-based interventions including care farming, conservation, walk and talk groups, horticulture etc. Understandably like every other area and project, our network also had to put some plans on hold when the lockdown first started. Soon it was evident that people needed more support than before, but this also prompted people to appreciate how important it is to connect with nature.

Our members have continued their efforts during the pandemic. Initiatives like the Norfolk Master Composter started offering telephone and online support including a series of home composting workshops for beginners. This project aims to raise Norfolk residents’ awareness of the benefits of home composting. During normal times Master Composter volunteers would attend events, give talks and offer face to face advice to groups and individuals.

Nigel, the cofounder of Norfolk Green Care Network says “We are all conscious of how all things green have become so much more important for so many people over the last few months, and the profile of the natural world and our part in it have become more prominent. As we face another period where many people may find themselves in restricted circumstances, and with the prospect of considerable unemployment and rising mental health issues, I firmly believe that Green Care projects and services have a massive role to play and am committed to helping them through the formation of the network.”

Members of our network have been using this time very creatively, with some witnessing an increase in number of volunteers and hosting virtual methods to broadcast the sounds of nature. We are always looking to welcome new members into our network. You can either join us on our Facebook page or subscribe to our mailing list of nearly 200 people by entering your email address here.

Carlyn the cofounder of this initiative says, “Having worked in the Green Care space for over eight years, and more recently running The Nurture Project, I felt there was very little connected information between other Green Care practitioners operating in the county. So, both Nigel and I felt there was an opportunity to create a network and to build a more cohesive Green Care community in Norfolk, but we needed to find out whether there was a genuine enthusiasm and demand around the idea. Nearly a year later from conception The Norfolk Green Care Network is up and running. I am excited to see how it develops.”

Though centred on Norfolk, we also include projects and activities in adjoining areas, such as Waveney and other parts of Suffolk, and the Fenland area of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. So please come and join us in inspiring and promoting the development of Green Care activities, bringing together and promoting research into the impact of Green Care and providing pathways for individuals to progress between different types and levels of Green Care. You can find out more about our network on our website.

Nigel and Caryln recently spoke to Amelia Worley, Groups and Membership Officer of Voluntary Norfolk. You can listen to their conversation here.

Amelia has also shared her thoughts about the network. She said “Voluntary Norfolk recognises how important it is for small charities and community groups to meet, share ideas, build trust and collaborations. By working together we create a stronger, more effective voluntary sector, which will be vital for people and communities in Norfolk over the coming years. We welcome the development of the Green Care Network and look forward to supporting it over the coming year.”

Ideas Hub

Published 13th January 2021

Nigel Boldero

Norfolk Green Care Network