Celebrating Health and Wellbeing!

May has been a busy month for us, and we, like everyone else, have been learning to adapt to a very different way of life!  Of course for many of us, Covid and lockdown have been dominating factors in what we do and how we do it for what seems like a very long time, so the first signs of change at the end of April, allowing us to socialise again, and even begin to travel, were very welcome.   After all this time not being able to visit our friends and families, there was a sense of uncertainty in this new-found freedom and naturally an element of anxiety.  Lockdowns and restrictions are not really very good for our health!

Behind the scenes, the Trustees at The Neil Mackenzie Trust have been busy.  As we have not had many applications to consider, we turned our attention to thinking of ways we can help other categories of people, who are perhaps not quite so adventurous as those we normally assist.  Of course, we too have been stuck inside and as outdoorsy people ourselves we understand the frustrations, so how about a ‘Health and Wellbeing Grant’ to help those that struggled mentally and physically with lockdown?

So the Health and Wellbeing Grant was born.  How would it work?  Well, when I look out of my office window I see hills, and at the moment there are also lambs in the fields.  Whatever the weather this view makes me smile and appreciate the area in which I am lucky to live.  The Trust is all about encouraging people to push their boundaries and learn new skills in an outdoor environment, so how about we combine the two?  Just being outside is enough to make people feel better, so if we could offer a little financial incentive to help those who are finding it difficult to get active again, it benefits us all.    If you have experienced health problems during the pandemic and would like some financial assistance to join an outdoor group or start a new outdoor activity, then please do have a look at our new Grant! Health and Wellbeing award – The Neil Mackenzie Trust

Of course, our new Grant needed promoting, and what better way to do this than to organise an outdoor event, with the aim of encouraging folk outside to enjoy their surroundings, meet new people and where possible, be active. 

So, on Saturday 22nd May, we hosted a Get Outdoors Day in Daviot Woods and welcomed a very mixed group of individuals from all ages and abilities for a walk, scavenger hunt and refreshments.  The feedback was very positive, and everyone who came did so for different reasons, but I hope you would agree that our aims were met: 

‘Thank you so much for a fab afternoon – we all loved it and I’m so glad the weather showed up for it. Great idea and fab mix of folk, good to have a blether with lots of different people on the way round.  I meant to take more [photos] but was enjoying just walking along phone free!’

‘Yesterday was great! I look forward to the next one.  I’m also pleased to say that I recorded over 10,000 steps for the first time in a very long time!’

‘We had a lovely time on Saturday, met lots of lovely people and found a new wood to stomp around.’

More photos of the day can be found in our Photo Gallery.

We were also very pleased that our friends at the School of Adventure Studies at West Highland College UHI in Fort William were able to organise a Taster Coasteering session as part of our Get Outdoors Day event too – definitely for the more adventurous, but thoroughly enjoyed by all!  Thank you again to Andy and Zeemon at Coasteering.Fun for hosting the event for us!  Click here to see a short video, put together by Jose from the School of Adventure Studies, of their exploits.

As well as being active and outdoors, self-care is also an important part of health and wellbeing, whether it is establishing a good sleep pattern, practising mindfulness, taking up Yoga, or even just making time for a relaxing bath – these all help us feel better.  It is also something that is very often neglected, and can lead to mental health issues.  As an outdoorsy, working Mother, I have to admit that self-care (particularly in the form of skincare routines, facials and spa products) is not very high up on my agenda, so when I was invited to join a Body Shop at Home group on social media I really wasn’t sure whether it was for me.  Siobhan, who runs the group, which revolves around the promotion and selling of Body Shop products, is also an advocate of positive health and wellbeing, tying in with the Trust’s ethos, so I thought I would give it a go.  She also raises money for a nominated monthly charity, and was happy to help the Trust in our fundraising and promotion efforts throughout May – a win win situation you could say!  Thank you Siobhan and Lisa for all of your hard work and support this month, and yes, I do I love all my new goodies!

As well as raising awareness of the new Grant, there has been an element of fundraising to all of our activities this month, and we are very pleased to announce that we have raised a grand total of £500, which will all go towards future grant awards.  Thank you to every single person who took part in one of our activities, or gave a donation towards this fantastic total.

So looking after your Health and wellbeing can come in many forms, and throughout the month of May we at the Trust have embraced many of them – we hope this will inspire you to do the same!