In our last year of grants rounds we awarded Windsor Hill Wood’s a £2000 grant to support the development of a financially sustainable outdoor classroom in Windsor Hill Wood’s grounds. They have provided us with this recent feedback;

“The main anticipated benefits of this project, that is to provide a therapeutic woodland space for activities that improve the mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable adults and local residents in Mendip, have not yet been fully realised because the build phase of the Woodland Retreat build is still underway but we have been communicating with groups who are interested in renting the space from Spring 2024. These include an Art therapy group, NHS Wells, an Equine therapy and coaching group as well as the Watch project. One group will use the space several days every week and others will run blocks of courses. Windsor Hill Wood will use the retreat for wellbeing groups on a weekly basis. It will also be a therapeutic space for woodland crafts and art therapy for the residents and day guests at Windsor Hill Wood.”

“It will be for the benefit of the local community providing therapeutic art workshops, woodland craft activities. We will use this all weather (enclosed, warm and dry) outdoor space to facilitate year round therapeutic work with nature, in a supportive, safe, fun and sociable environment, and so empower people to make lasting, positive changes to their lives.We anticipate this space will benefit at least 250 people per year.”

“To date 20 people, adults aged 23-55, have gained benefit from the project – these are day guests and residents at Windsor Hill Wood, all vulnerable adults, who have made a meaningful contribution to the design, build and decorative aspect of the Woodland Retreat. Using their skills, ideas, energies and expertise to develop the Woodland Retreat has been a meaningful use of their time as well as giving them a sense of ‘paying it forward’ for future beneficiaries of the space. The build phase has not been without its challenges but it has also generated a sense of camaraderie and resilience. This is important for people in recovery from a time of crisis, as day guests and residents at Windsor Hill Wood are.”

“We remain confident that this project will achieve it’s anticipated goals both improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes for local people as well as providing sustainability to Windsor Hill Wood’s work with local vulnerable adults. We will be able to run free therapeutic sessions as well as making the space available for local groups to rent thus providing an income source that can be invested into our work with those on the margins of the local community.”

“Key achievements of Windsor Hill Wood are seen in the positive changes experienced in the lives of our beneficiaries. In the past year 86% of our long term residents have gained sufficient recovery and resilience in their mental health and wellbeing during their time at Windsor Hill Wood to enable them to move on successfully while maintaining their sobriety and growing in life confidence.”

Here are some recent quotes from residents:
“This place has saved my life. Simply that.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Windsor Hill Wood. I would have ended it all, pretty sure.”
“I’m not used to people being nice to me.”
“Disappearing into the woodland helps me to breathe easily.”
“Living through the seasons, so close to the seasons, has helped me have a more healthy perspective on life.”
“Here is unconditional love, I am accepted for who I am.”