New project promotes ‘Natural Sparkle’ for people in Dorset

Walking at Happy Bottom nature reserve © Brian Bleese 

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has launched an exciting new health and wellbeing project, ‘Natural Sparkle’. Supported by Southern Co-op, the project aims to provide a suite of nature-based activities that benefit both physical and mental wellbeing for local people and will also help wildlife in the area.

The Natural Sparkle project was launched at DWT’s Happy Bottom nature reserve in east Dorset, where volunteers from Southern Co-op joined DWT volunteers to re-seed the community orchard with wildflowers.  Volunteers were also taken on nature walks around the Corfe Barrow Nature park.

Activities which are organised through the project will become part of Natural Choices* – a programme of nature-based activities from over 20 providers across Dorset which is led by the Dorset Local Nature Partnership (LNP).  The LNP is working with Dorset’s health services to raise the profile of the benefits of nature on our health and wellbeing. 

DWT’s East Dorset Living Landscapes Manager, Nicki Brunt said, DWT’s East Dorset Living Landscapes Manager, Nicki Brunt said, “As part of the Natural Sparkle project we will be offering activities such as practical conservation volunteering, talks, walks and mindfulness sessions.   By working in partnership through the Dorset LNP, the aim is to embed the wellbeing opportunities into the Dorset health system through health and social care professionals such as nurses and GPs. But these activities will benefit anyone wanting to have a healthy lifestyle and to help local wildlife at the same time.”

The generous funding from Southern Co-op has also unlocked further funding for projects to link up Natural Sparkle’s activities in nature reserves and community green spaces, increasing the reach of the project hugely in the first 2 years of delivery as a tool to prevent ill health, and support recovery through nature. 

Gemma Lacey, Southern Co-op’s Director of Sustainability and Communications, said: “The work carried out by our Wildlife Trusts is absolutely incredible and gives people an opportunity to connect with our natural world. This project will bring a variety of positive impacts improving people’s health and wellbeing whilst also benefitting nature.

“Being a regional, independent co-operative, improving our local communities is incredibly important to us and this is an exciting move forward in our commitment to securing a more sustainable future for everybody.”

To find out more about Natural Choices activities on offer, click here. 

Southern Co-op at Happy Bottom Nature Reserve © Brian Bleese

Southern Co-op at Happy Bottom Nature Reserve © Brian Bleese