Thriving Communities & Free Training

£50K Grant awarded from National Social Prescribing scheme to support community groups in Dorset to deliver inclusive and creative nature-themed activities.

We all know the Covid-19 pandemic has hugely affected communities, isolating people from family, friends and activities that previously supported them. The impact of nature and participation in arts, nature and physical activities on wellbeing has never been so important.

The Arts Development Company (TADC), in partnership with Stepping into Nature, Active Dorset and Help & Care, with the support of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group have been successful in securing a £50k grant from the Thriving Communities Fund awarded by The National Academy of Social Prescribing.

Their project, called Nature Buddies: re-connecting to nature through activity, one of 37 across the country awarded funding, is for a year-long programme to upskill existing voluntary and community groups to deliver local activities for people who are referred by their Link Workers at their GP surgery, across Dorset and BCP.

The project will deliver a series of training sessions around equality and diversity, mental health and dementia awareness. It will also deliver taster sessions for community groups with ideas on how to enhance their activities, as well as sessions for Link Workers to learn about available local activities and the benefits they have to offer. In addition, 30 volunteer Nature Buddies will be trained to help provide access to these activities for people with high anxiety and low levels of confidence.

If you would like to find out more about Nature Buddies, or would like to get involved as a community group or a volunteer please contact Jo March on 01305 228528 or

What is social prescribing?

In social prescribing, health professionals such as GPs, refer patients to support in the community, in order to improve their health and wellbeing. Most GP practices now have what’s known as a Link Worker. Link Workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support.

Training Sessions now available

Mental Health Awareness Training with Dorset Mind. Thu 15 Jul, Wed 25 Aug, Tue 7 Sep, Thu 9 Sep, Thu 30 Sep, with more sessions scheduled throughout October and November.

This blended learning course increases delegates’ mental health awareness. Delegates will explore their own mental health and the impact it has on their lives in and out of the workplace.  The role of stigma and misconceptions about mental ill health on our willingness to talk openly about mental health will be discussed, and the
language that we use in our conversations about mental health and that we see
in the media. This training encourages delegates to explore what is happening
for them, as well as what may be happening in their colleagues’ work and
personal lives.

Inclusivity and Diversity Training with Nathalie Sherring. Thu 2 Sep, Wed 15 Sep, Fri 24 Sep, Thu 7 Oct, Thu
14 Oct.

An online training session on Zoom, aimed at the voluntary, community, faith
and social enterprise sector to upskill community organisations to deliver
social prescribing activities in their local area. You will discover through a
series of discussions how you can improve your relationships with people by
understanding how you relate to those people and what makes you react in
different ways depending on people you meet. Nathalie is Chief Officer at the
Dorset Race Equality Council, with a background in community and equality
development project management.

To find out about further FREE training dates, taster sessions and how to become a Volunteer Nature Buddy please keep an eye on our website: