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Green Leadership Programme: Health and Wellbeing

We’re now halfway through our Green Leadership Programme and our cohort met again last week at the wonderful Platt Fields Market Garden in Manchester to immerse themselves in a session all about health and wellbeing.

This month’s workshop was led by the inspiring Saba Iftikhar from Pennine Oaks, a community retreat in Pendle, Lancashire. Saba shared her personal story and told the group how, through grief and growth, she found respite and happiness in the forest. Once a criminal defence solicitor, Saba is now a forestry practitioner, empowering communities and individuals to find their own personal sense of well-being through eco-therapy.

Embodying the values of persistence and positivity, Saba inspired the group to do the same by sharing some of her techniques, activities, and advice in a fun hands-on session. The group took on archery, made kaleidoscopes, and even whittled their own pencils!

The spirit of personal wellbeing, and inward reflection that was nurtured through the workshop lent itself to some self-reflection on the Programme so far and the group took the time to think about their own progress and Green Leaders.

The day’s session also included a talk from George Coombs, Senior Advisor for Health and Environment at Natural England. Joining us via Zoom, George talked to the group about Natural England’s commitment to connecting people with nature in order to improve health and wellbeing and guided them through their Green Infrastructure Framework. He demonstrated how their mapping tool showed that areas of high deprivation and low access to nature, are linked to poorer health outcomes.

And finally, we can’t close this blog without mentioning the fabulous food that was provided for us by MUD, the organisation behind Platt Fields Market Garden. Using produce grown on-site, we enjoyed incredible pumpkin sandwiches, a delicious green bean salad, and homemade humous to die for! Topped off by the most incredible apple crumble cake!

The group will meet again at West Boldon Lodge for our next session on Sustainability

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