The Building Natural Capital Project is a collaboration between Ewen’s Room and the Buzz Project that we are seeking to fund through the Aviva Community Funding Initiative.
Fort William is at the foot of Ben Nevis in Lochaber, an area referred to as The Outdoor Capital of the UK due to its outstanding natural environment and wide range of opportunities for outdoor pursuits.
There is a wealth of evidence that spending time outdoors in nature is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. We therefore see this resource around us as ‘Natural Capital’ available to everyone and so we want to find out how to maximise these benefits for young people in Fort William.
If apparent ease of access to the outdoors was the only determinant of mental health and wellbeing though, this area should also be famous for being The Wellbeing and Happiness Capital of the UK. However, this is far from being the case for the young people of the town and surrounding areas, which have experienced a high level of self-inflicted death and problematic substance use in recent years.
The aims of our project are to investigate existing barriers to local young people using the outdoors, and to consider and test ways of encouraging such involvement to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing, leading to improved mental health and enjoyment of life.
We propose to deliver a series of focus-groups and engage with local young people in research to find out:
- How young people in Fort William currently use the natural environment surrounding the town
- What the benefits are for those who do regularly engage in outdoor activities
- What the barriers are for those that do not
- How to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the area
You can support this project by donating at www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/building-natural-capital.
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Building Natural Capital
The Building Natural Capital Project is a collaboration between Ewen’s Room and the Buzz Project - Find out more.
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