People walking in nature

Flourish in Nature Volunteering to Help Substance Misuse Recovery

Volunteering in outdoor activities and environmental tasks is set to play an important role for people recovering from substance misuse in Devon.

Flourish in Nature is a fantastic project led by EDP Drug & Alcohol Services. The project, funded by Sport England, supports people who are recovering from drug and alcohol misuse by coaching them to become voluntary outdoor activity leaders. These trained leaders can then go on to help others in their community, use physical outdoor activity and learning about Devon’s amazing natural world, to address their own health issues.

Active Devon is delighted to be working together with the Devon Wildlife Trust, in partnership with EDP, providing a wide range of expert support around volunteering, physical activity and environmental education.

Active Devon has worked with EDP on a number of projects and seen how transformational people’s journeys can be when they are given the right tools to manage and control their own lives. Flourish in Nature has direct links with a number of other projects we do, that examine how being active in nature benefits the mind and body.

What are Flourish Cafes?

EDP Drug & Alcohol Services run Flourish cafes, which are social, creative spaces where people both with and without ‘lived experience’ of substance misuse, recovery and mental ill health can come and discover ways to connect, learn, get active, take notice and give back to their community. The cafes can be found across Devon in Exeter, Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Ilfracombe, Exmouth and Barnstaple.

Flourish in Nature is the next step in providing wider opportunities for volunteers to develop their own skills and confidence, and experience improved health and wellbeing.

Being in Contact With the Natural World

We know that contact with the natural world can make a huge difference for people’s health and wellbeing. Flourish in Nature gives people recovering from substance misuse, the chance to appreciate and benefit the amazing wildlife and beautiful natural surroundings right here in Devon, whilst volunteering.

Sport England Helping To Create New Opportunities

Flourish in Nature is one of 37 newly announced projects which will be testing various different approaches, with the ultimate aim of growing and diversifying volunteering.

The project builds into Sport England’s wider aim of exploring how the outdoors and the environment may motivate people to get involved in volunteering and 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, such as women, disabled people, people from BME groups and people on a low income. This Devon partnership is seeking to show that volunteering is for everyone and can lead to sustained change which impacts positively on many people’s lives.

It is well known that recovering from addiction is a long process and filling the void left by addiction can be one of the key hurdles to overcome. With these new opportunities for regular volunteering on offer, that enable people to enjoy outdoor spaces and social settings, it is hoped that Devon will be leading the way in its recovery services.

For more information about Flourish cafes visit the EDP website or email to register your interest in getting involved.

The Project Can Have an Enormous Positive Impact

“We see first-hand every day 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, we know that this project is going to have a hugely positive impact on our service users.” Nik Sutherland, Flourish Project Lead at EDP Drug & 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 be helping Flourish in Nature enable more volunteers to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.” Phil Smith, Director of Sport, Sport England