Somerset’s Nature and Wellbeing Network – initial gathering
I must admit, I was feeling pretty apprehensive about this initial gathering of nature and wellbeing colleagues from across the county. Would anyone turn up? Everyone is so busy! Was this as important to others as it is to me? Was there an appetite for it? Was it the right time? It turns out. I needn’t have worried. As the room started to fill with over thirty fabulous people – with a wealth of nature and conservation experience, skills and ideas between them – I could feel the energy and enthusiasm in the room build.
The Somerset Nature and Wellbeing Network has been talked about for some time. It is something that those involved in nature and wellbeing projects are asking for (a clearer, more coordinated offer from those providing nature and wellbeing services/projects within the county) and something that Public Health, who currently fund the project I coordinate, are keen to support.
We were lucky enough to have many fantastic projects, organisations and individuals represented. From larger, national organisations, to individuals running their own businesses, all working to ensure people have opportunities to benefit from nature-based health interventions and experiences. As once of the network members put it, “a great gathering of people with enough passion and energy to surely get something started.”
We spent the two-to-three hours that we had together chatting through what we as a collective value; what our purpose is; how we should structure the ourselves; and then, finally, what is it that we do to ensure that we meet our purpose. Other key topics included: looking at how we map and share opportunities with the public and whether we would like to get together to host event(s) to show people the range of opportunities on offer.
People attending the network seemed to want this to continue. Suggestions were made about having another meet-up before the end of the year to ensure that the momentum we have gathered during the initial set-up continues.
I look forward to seeing what happens when good people with a passion for nurturing and protecting local natural environments and local people, come together to ‘do’. Exciting times.
More information about the network should be available online in the not-too-distant future.