A good news story for Children’s Mental Health Week

New project helps 5,000 young people get wild and well in the Belfast Hills - Ulster Wildlife Trust

5,000 young people from disadvantaged areas in North and West Belfast are set to benefit from spending time outdoors in nature to help recover from the challenges of the pandemic, in a new youth project led by the Belfast Hills Partnership and Ulster Wildlife.

Launched today to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, ‘Wild Youth’ will put young people aged 11 to 25 in touch with local green spaces in the Belfast Hills, introducing them to wildlife and conservation activities, whilst improving their mental health, wellbeing and employability.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project comes at a critical time, after two years when young people have become increasingly isolated from nature and their friends, learnt behind screens, and suffered a substantial rise in mental health issues.

Lizzy Pinkerton, Scheme Manager with the Belfast Hills Partnership, explains: “Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. When we consulted with young people in North and West Belfast as part of a global study they reported significantly higher levels of anxiety, negative mental health, and tiredness. They wanted to get outside, meet new friends and help with nature. We hope Wild Youth will give them those much-needed experiences while boosting their confidence, health, job skills and pride in their local community.”

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Posted On: 07/02/2022

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