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The Green Minds Team: LEFT TO RIGHT: Jess Tanner, Rich Shone and Em Charles

The Green Minds Project is a new community ecotherapy service based at Brecon & District Mind. Heading up the project are green fingered gardeners Jess Tanner and Em Charles together with Brecon & District Mind Volunteer Rich Shone, whose combined experience includes backgrounds in community arts, social and therapeutic horticulture, mindfulness, nature-based facilitation and mental health and social care. Here they talk a little about their new project, and the importance of continuing our connections to the natural world, as we shift into a new territory with the recent easings of lockdown.

“The aim of the Green Minds Project is to provide a supportive and caring environment to help our members improve their wellbeing, by harnessing the benefits of the natural world for better physical and mental health”, explains Lead Facilitator Jess. “We currently have a small group of participants who meet twice weekly in the Brecon area, sharing together a common interest in the natural world through walking, gardening, conservation and taking part in creative activities working with natural materials”.

The project launched in December 2019 with a new partnership with Brecon Cathedral, involving ongoing work to regenerate areas within the grounds. Then in early spring, leading up to lockdown, the group were busy seed sowing for various community garden projects. Co-facilitator Em explains “when the new restrictions around lockdown came into effect at the end of March, we suddenly found ourselves needing to quickly adapt our offerings to enable us to continue to provide support to our members and wider community. Promptly, we set about moving the project online by creating the Green Minds website, an open resource that would hopefully inspire both our members and others to look towards nature focussed support for wellbeing”. As well as offering a regular blog for members and the community to contribute to, the site also includes updates on the groups community project work and a free 4 week Mindfulness and Nature Connection course.

Jess continues, “this ‘great pause’ has enabled many to connect more deeply with the natural world, and this is something we don’t want to lose sight of now life is beginning to pick up pace again. There is no doubt in our minds of the healing power of nature, of working together as a group, tending plants and walking among the trees and beautiful landscapes surrounding us, and so we have to remain confident that this time we are in, as difficult as it is, will shine an even brighter light on the importance of nature-connection, a sense of our own nature, and how and where we find belonging in the world”.

You can find out more about the Green Minds Project and available resources on our website at We have recently restarted our group sessions adhering to current Government guidelines, so if you, or someone you know may be interested in joining our friendly group, then please do get in touch either via email or phone which are detailed on our website.

For more information on any of Brecon & District Mind’s other support services please visit our main website or call: 01874 611529

Em Charles


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