Sustainable Development Fund Grant £9,180 over two years
Talgarth based Muddy Care is a Community Interest Company providing outdoor education, ecotherapy and long-term rehabilitation support for people with chronic medical conditions and now Long Covid. Programmes are person-centred, addressing emotional and psychological as well as physical needs, supporting personal development.
The Sustainable Development Fund grant supported a pilot project to assess and demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach, with around 12 participants taking part in a range of recreational activities and workshops in the National Park and beyond. Sessions included basic orienteering, walking and exploring, health and self-care, trying out electric bikes etc. The pilot was designed to take place over nine months, but Covid meant that it ran over two years with unexpected benefits. The format was adapted and redesigned with the full involvement of participants, ensuring that they continued to receive support safely in changing circumstances – all useful learning.
Initial evaluation shows that:
- by summer 2021, over half of the participants had reduced their medication by over 50% since starting Muddy Care, and had had fewer relapses
- all participants have shown consistent improvements in their overall wellbeing
- there were no drop-outs – all those originally recruited in November 2019 continued to attend sessions.
- local businesses have benefitted with e.g., bike hire from Drover Cycles, visits to cafes and restaurants
- participants have a much better understanding and knowledge of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park – visiting and exploring less familiar areas
Feedback from participants is very positive:
When I first started with Muddy Care my life was just about existing. The only times I left the house were hospital appointments, which I had quite a lot of. I was still coming to terms with my diagnosis, I had very little support and no social life. Muddy Care has changed my life. I have done amazing things that I never thought possible.
When you have a chronic health condition your life gets smaller, darker, more anxious. Getting out and about into nature can be challenging and it’s often to maintain motivation and courage. There are so many health benefits, mental, physical, and spiritual of being outside and engaged with nature and the outdoors – but even knowing that there are many barriers. Muddy Care cuts through these by providing the means, the motivation and the accountability needed.
Taking part in the Muddy Care activities has shown me that just because I have chronic conditions, it doesn’t mean I have to stop doing things, they can just be adapted to be done in a different way.