Over the last year, BCP Council has helped residents in mourning through a bereavement support group that uses nature as a form of therapy.
The weekly group – which has been running since summer 2019 at the Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve and at Bournemouth’s North Cemetery – encourages attendees to connect with the environment and other people by participating in a range of natural craft activities in a friendly, informal setting.
In the current climate the group has converted to online support, with virtual ‘Wellness Wednesday’ sessions involving activities such as growing plants; taking part in ‘wildlife bingo’; and photographing garden wildlife. The official programme will resume when it is safe to do so.
As well as promoting mental health and wellbeing amongst the participants, the group also supports other bereaved individuals who visit the council’s cemeteries by enhancing the environment in which they find themselves, creating and introducing decorations and wildlife-encouraging habitats such as bird boxes and bug hotels.
Following successful funding bids, Bournemouth’s North Cemetery and Crematorium has also benefited from bird feeders and visitor bags that contain wildlife ID guides.
In addition to natural crafts, the bereavement support group’s activities have included plant life drawings, rock painting, wildlife surveys, gardening, bird watching, and communicating. One participant commented, “I feel loads better, it’s just magical and healing and puts things in perspective; you can be distracted by what’s around you rather than what’s in your head.”
To find out more about joining the bereavement support group email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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