Support our Sanctuary Project today 

Since the COVID outbreak, two things have become clear: how much we rely on nature and how much we rely on our frontline workers. Day in and day out, we’ve seen them bravely and selflessly risk their lives to care for the most vulnerable members of society.  

But what if we told you 92% of emergency workers have suffered mental health problems? That most have considered leaving due to poor mental health? Or that one in four have even considered taking their own life? And this was before the COVID crisis.

We wanted to find a way to give back, both to nature and to our frontline services. We believe our new Sanctuary Project can achieve both.

Engaging people with the landscape has always been a core part of what we do. Set on our land at Mike’s Wood, the Project will reconnect frontline workers with nature. Using the proven benefits of green spaces to boost mental and physical wellbeing, we’ll run a series of three-day retreats, combining conservation work with outdoor activities in a tranquil, therapeutic setting.

Through activities such as coppicing, camping and open-water swimming, participants will be encouraged to use nature as a tool to rebuild their resilience and cope with the demands of these unprecedented times. Of course, nature will benefit too. Activities such as tree planting will help protect and enhance the precious landscapes of the Lake District.

In July, we surveyed workers from across the NHS and emergency services. 75% said their mental health had worsened as a result of the COVID-crisis and almost all felt the chance to take part in our Sanctuary Project would improve their well-being. By sending a gift today, you can give them that chance.

Supporting the Project will be Luke Collyer, a qualified Bushcraft instructor and Mountain Leader. He’s also a serving NHS paramedic, and knows all too well the trauma many frontline workers face. Luke moved to the Lake District from London, following his own mental and physical burnout. Only by reconnecting with the natural landscape was he able to heal, recover and return to providing emergency medical care.

We want to give other frontline workers the same opportunity to heal. By sending a gift today, you can help us reach others in need.

Starting early next year, the Sanctuary Project will run for an initial 12 months. After this, we hope to expand the Project further. Of course, frontline workers come from outside the emergency services too. We want to reach other men and women who’ve toiled throughout this crisis, often at considerable risk to themselves.

As we launch this appeal, COVID-cases are spiking once more. As always, frontline workers will be there for those in need. Last time, we clapped on our doorsteps. This time, we can say thank you in a lasting way.

Nature helped many of us cope with the COVID-crisis. It reduced stress, recharged batteries and boosted resilience. By supporting our Sanctuary Project, you can give frontline workers the chance to enjoy those benefits too.

Thank you.