Hampshire charity secures CLA Charitable Trust funding to help run nature therapy

Service which provides counselling for young people awarded £5,000 CLACT grant
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Youngsters preparing a camp fire on a Winchester Youth Counselling activity.

A charity in Hampshire which provides counselling for young people has been awarded £5,000 from the CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) to help run nature therapy sessions.

The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents nearly 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.

Winchester Youth Counselling (WYC) is among the groups to successfully apply for funding in the most recent round of awards. For 20 years it has provided free counselling and therapy to young people in the district, and it plans to use the grant to run nature therapy twice a week for youngsters aged 11 to 14, using fun and engaging activities such as campfire cooking, bushcraft and conservation work.

Therapy is run in conjunction with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, with sessions taking place at Winnall Moors Nature Reserve and Micheldever.

Erin McMurtry, Chief Executive Officer of the charity, said: “We were delighted to find out we had been awarded a grant from the CLA.

“Young people come to WYC with various mental health issues including anxiety, depression, bullying, low self-esteem and many others. Engaging with nature therapy is helping them get involved, increase confidence, and get back to their routines at school and spending time with friends.

“The grant has also contributed to our 1:1 walk and talk therapy which takes place at two local nature reserves. The added well-being benefits of the countryside provide a refreshing, calming setting in which to open-up to a counsellor and talk through personal issues.

“Our walk and talk counselling service has the added benefit of being open-ended and we will continue to support young people for as long as they need to feel better. Thank you to the CLA for supporting us.”

One youngster, who the charity recently helped, said: “Before coming to nature therapy I was very shy; I really like doing the campfire and I loved seeing the lizards. It has given me self-confidence and I am able to speak more.”

Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Winchester Youth Counselling in running its nature therapy sessions.

“This work in helping young people through counselling in countryside is critical, and makes a proven difference to the lives of many young people. We are really pleased to play a small part in supporting the important and much needed work.”

More information about CLACT

Since its foundation in 1980, the trust has given £2m in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects.

If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit https://www.cla.org.uk/about-cla/charitable-trust/

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east/regional-news and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.

Key contact:

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Mike Sims CLA South East Communications Manager