A group of men and women walking through open woodland with sunlight shining through trees either side of the people, and with green ferns in the distance.

Flourish in Nature Volunteering Helps Substance Misuse Recovery

The Flourish in Nature project has supported people who were recovering from drug and alcohol misuse to become voluntary outdoor activity leaders.

Led by EDP Drug and Alcohol Services (EDP) and funded by Sport England, the project created opportunities for people to develop skills and confidence. Plus, experience improved health and wellbeing.

In partnership with EDP, we worked with the Devon Wildlife Trust, to provide a wide range of expert support on volunteering, physical activity and environmental education.

We know that contact with the natural world can make a huge difference to people’s health and wellbeing. Flourish in Nature has given people recovering from substance misuse, the chance to appreciate and benefit from being in nature, whilst volunteering.

Sport England Helping to Create New Opportunities

Flourish in Nature has been one of 37 newly announced projects which test various different approaches, with the ultimate aim of growing and diversifying volunteering.

The project supports Sport England’s wider aim of exploring how the outdoors and the environment may motivate people to get involved in volunteering. Plus, how volunteering can help create new opportunities for people to get active.

Work carried out by Sport England has shown that specific groups of the population are less likely to volunteer in sport. This includes women, disabled people, people from culturally diverse communities and people on a low income.

This Devon partnership shows that volunteering is for everyone and can lead to long-term changes that can positively impact people’s lives.

What are Flourish Cafes?

EDP run Flourish cafes. These are for people with and without ‘lived experience’ of substance misuse, recovery and mental ill health. The cafes have social and creative spaces where people can connect, learn and discover ways to get active. Plus, how to take notice and give back to the community. Cafes can be found across Devon in Exeter, Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Ilfracombe, Exmouth and Barnstaple.

For more information about Flourish cafes visit the EDP website. Or you can email flourish@edp.org.uk to register your interest in getting involved.

The Project Has Had Enormous Positive Impact

“We have seen first-hand the enormous power of volunteering to people who are in recovery. Having the expertise of Active Devon to provide mentoring and coaching support to our volunteers, and the passion of the Devon Wildlife Trust to inspire, this project has had a huge positive impact on our service users.” Nik Sutherland, Flourish Project Lead at EDP Drug and Alcohol Service

“When people volunteer in sport and physical activity there is a dual benefit – volunteers help others in their communities get active, as well as benefitting themselves. Volunteering can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends. That’s why volunteering sits at the heart of Sport England’s new strategy, Towards an Active Nation. We’re delighted to have helped Flourish in Nature enable more volunteers to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.” Phil Smith, Director of Sport, Sport England