Getting There!

Social prescribing? Green care? Heather Lodge, in association with the Mary Davies Trust, has attracted funding from the Scottish Government’s ‘Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund’, as reported in February’s Voice for Arran. The project is called ‘Getting There!’ Here’s a bit more detail.

Nine qualified therapists will be offering a range of mainly outdoor activities and interventions aimed at improving personal well-being and community resilience. All sessions are free to participants, who may seek a referral through health professionals, or self-refer.

What’s it all about? The programme has five strands.

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture. Come and enjoy some therapeutic gardening with an experienced STH therapist in the beautiful Heather Lodge healing garden in Brodick. Being active out of doors can be beneficial to mental health and resilience. STH sessions have been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, enhance fitness levels, attention, concentration and memory, improve mood and encourage teamwork, communication skills and social interaction. All ages and abilities welcome!

‘Movement Medicine’ is rooted in ancient wisdom and modern understanding of how change happens. Its intention is to help you access more of the physical and emotional intelligence that’s inside you through bringing awareness to the way you move, feel and think. Whatever your level of experience, age or condition, conscious movement practice is a force for creative expression and mindfulness in day to day life. Dare to dream; dare to dance.

Women’s Drumming Circle. The positive influence of regular use of rhythmic instruments on our bodies and beings, is now widely recognised. For millennia, the sacred drummers of ancient cultures were women. Re-establishing these rhythmic links, within a safe and social circle allows the beat of the drum to create a space in the busy-ness of our minds, making room for release, rejuvenation and joy. Finding your way back to you. We will meet in the Heather Lodge garden room or (weather permitting) outside around the fire pit.

Forest Bathing (Shinrin Yoku). Humankind evolved from the forest, and it isn’t surprising that exposure to nature and particularly to trees is good for us, stimulating the body’s calming parasympathetic system, reducing stress, and boosting our immune systems. Following some of the principles researched especially in Japan, forest bathing opens the mind and the senses in woodland. You’ll find yourself doing things you haven’t done before!

‘Walk and Talk’ Counselling. ‘Walk and Talk’ is a less formal approach to counselling that can help you express yourself more easily and less self-consciously. Simply being outdoors helps you to see your life in greater perspective and exploring ideas with a trained therapist can help you get back on track. Various locations: garden, woodland, beach, ensure a setting appropriate to your needs. This method has been shown to significantly reduce depression and increase self-esteem.

These programmes will be delivered by professional therapists based on Arran: Nicola Anastasi, Chris Attkins, Jill Harmony, Malcolm Kerr, Susan Knox, Steve Merritt, Shona Redmayne, Heather Thomson and Jo Wise. There’s more info about the therapists on:

So, how do you get a referral? Either ask your GP, practice nurse, social worker, advocate or other adviser to refer you. Or just refer yourself. We’ll need to know:

1. Your name
2. Your date of birth
3. Your address
4. An email address, if possible
5. A mobile phone number, if possible
6. Which service you wish access

Email: or Call: 01770 302546