The Green Prescription

Nature doesn’t discriminate. Yet access to nature is not equal.

We are delighted to partner with Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, to ensure more young people enjoy nature.

Thanks to funding from Natural Resources Wales, we will be going on exciting adventures in nature with Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic children and young people aged 7 – 25 years from across South Wales.

Working with children and young people, we are re going on wildlife walks with Coed Cadw where our young people can discover local woodlands such as Wentwood, walks in the Cardiff and Vale area, and other adventures across Wales. Take a look at what we’ve been up to here.

Taking a break from their everyday environment, our children and young people will experience the benefits of outdoors. Focusing on feelings, mindfulness and metal health awareness, we’re breaking down the stigma attached to mental health and encouraging wellbeing.

As Natalie Buttriss, Director of Wales at Coed Cadw said,

“we are delighted to be working with Diverse Cymru on this important and exciting initiative. Coed Cadw understand the importance of access to nature and woodland and the benefits these bring to health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to working with the young people on this programme and seeing the benefit that time spent in our woodlands can provide.”

Nature boosts our mental and physical health but many of the young Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic people we work with tell us that they currently don’t feel they can access nature. They say that a lack of confidence and distrust can stop them accessing green spaces. Racism, racial inequality, exclusionary language, and cultural barriers can also exclude people from green spaces.

Our young people want to change that.

An advisory group of young people passionate about social and cultural change and the benefits of green spaces will work with our Youth Worker and Coed Cadw. This group will be empowered to become Environment Ambassadors, helping ensure other young people can connect with local wildlife, and experience the benefits of nature on mental health and confidence.

The children and young people we’ve previously worked with have told us how much they enjoyed exploring nature and how it has boosted their wellbeing:

“I found it refreshing to leave the city and go out and experience nature with my own eyes. I had an amazing day.”

“It’s so nice to go out of my area, and I know now that going outside helps my mind and my body.”

“I think some of us ethnic people feel that we can’t go to places like this but we can and should. I’m really glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and went. It was definitely worth it.”

“I enjoyed every bit of it with my friends- we don’t get to do this often and it’s hard to get to cool places like this.”

We’re excited to explore incredible Welsh landscapes with children and young people to show how nature is for all.

“Everyone needs and deserves to feel safe in natural spaces.”

As our Youth Worker Zahrah said,

“The opportunity to take a moment in nature is something many studies have increasingly identified as valuable for peoples’ mental and physical health.  For families and members of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic groups this is not as easily accessible.  For numerous reasons young people, families, and other members of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic background face barriers in accessing local green spaces.  The current cost of living is a significant barrier for deprived communities including a lack of time due to unsocial working hours being a significant factor.

A major barrier faced by these groups is racism. The young minoritised ethnic people who we work with have faced being racially targeted physical and verbal abuse and islamophobia. They have been told green spaces are not for them which leads to fear of being in nature.

One consistent message from young people who have participated in our green prescription over the past eight years have always been they have a boost of energy and a desire to access the same and more green spaces of Wales with family and friends.

Now more than ever, after COVID and acknowledgement of the current race issues in the UK and other parts of the world young people need these green spaces and should be able to access these areas with confidence and safety.

Everyone needs and deserves to feel safe in natural spaces.

I am privileged to be able to facilitate young people to access nature through various activities such as climbing, wild swimming to name a few.

I only hope everyone understands that all of us need and deserve to feel safe in natural green and blue spaces, and that nature is not just a nice amenity. It’s a vital aspect of creating healthy, happy, resilient communities and individuals.”