This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re asking social enterprises, charities and social investment organisations to get involved by sharing their favourite ways of connecting with nature. 

Annie is the Digital Marketing and Communications Officer at Good Finance. She joined our team in January after spending a couple of years working for a marketing consultancy. 

Having grown up in rural North Devon, a beautiful village on the edge of Exmoor National Park, I have perhaps been guilty of taking nature for granted over the years. From reaching unthinkable speeds on my mini scooter down the lane on the common to herding our escapee goats in my wetsuit (true story) - most of my childhood was spent outside. As I grew up, did I love that there was just the one bus that may or may not show up every couple of hours? Absolutely not - but only now do I realise quite how lucky I was. 

I've learned to appreciate the nature around me, something that has perhaps accelerated tenfold during lockdown. With very little else to do, each time we embarked upon our daily walk, I noticed something new - be it the chicks and ducklings hatching along the canal or the delightful daffs in the park - and it’s these small but everyday interactions that help to keep us going. To quote one of my favourite lockdown Netflix binge series:

“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”

Pam Halpert, The Office US. 

The Social Sector  

This past year has been a difficult one for all, and despite the resilience, flexibility and perseverance demonstrated by many, social enterprises, charities and social investment organisations are no exception. Adjusting to working remotely, adapting operations to be covid compliant, maintaining cash flows, future-proofing business, protecting your workforce - the list of challenges that continue to face the sector while navigating the global pandemic is truly endless. And that’s without considering the toll it’s taken on you, as a human-being.

The social sector typically includes many frontline organisations, as well as those supporting the more vulnerable groups in society. That means the burden of not only surviving, but thriving to meet the ever-increasing demands as a result of a global pandemic have proved challenging. Unlike multi-billion corporations that have spent millions on resourcing and restructuring, the buck stops with you and you alone; some weight to carry on already weary shoulders. 

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is #ConnectWithNature. 

We’re asking the sector to get involved...

Experience Nature 

With all of the above in mind, we’re asking you to pause for a moment of reflection. Nobody is under any illusion that a walk in the woods will have you skipping off into the sunset while all your concerns melt away into the darkness. Recognise all that your hard work has achieved and actively give your brain a break from the daily 100mph speeds to truly appreciate the small but beautiful aspects of your surroundings. 

The smell of freshly cut grass at your local park. The trees that grow greener by the day. The cactus that stands tall on your window sill. Even the most modest of encounters with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation, protect mental health and prevent stress.

Share Nature - Enter The Competition!

Once you have noticed and celebrated nature, share it with the wider community. From your favourite natural escapes to your top tips for getting outside more during busy schedules - follow the steps below to share your nature-inspired experiences for your chance to win a hamper from Social Supermarket, worth up to £50! 

How to get involved:

  • Take a picture, video, or sound recording and share it with the social sector community via Twitter using the hashtag #GoodNature. 
  • Tag @GoodFinanceUK in the image or Tweet, along with someone else in your network to challenge them to share their connections with nature during the week. 
  • Enter as many times as you like! 

Nature is everywhere, so we want everyone from the social sector to join us in sharing their perspectives of nature - from the wildly beautifully Scottish coastline to the pigeons in Trafalgar square, and everything in between. 

The Tweet with the most likes by Friday 15th May at 5pm, that tags @GoodFinanceUK and uses the hashtag #GoodNature will win their choice of hamper from Social Supermarket, worth up to £50! Please DM us or email if you have any questions. 

Talk Nature

The week is also an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on help and advice. As such, we’ll be putting together a few helpful resources, both from Good Finance and across the wider sector, to help you to protect your mental health. Keep your eyes peeled for part two of our mental health awareness week blog - coming soon!