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The first ever bespoke course to train people to lead an award winning mental health project has been held in Rouken Glen Park, in East Renfrewshire.
The course, organised by Forestry Commission Scotland, aims to equip new leaders with the necessary skills to run the Branching Out project across the Central Belt.
The innovative project uses woodland activities to help turn around the lives of those experiencing mental health problems.
The project has been run successfully in a number of woodlands in Glasgow, Edinburgh and within the central belt.
Kirsty Cathrine, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Branching Out Manager, said:
“Branching Out has been very successful in helping those with mental illness kick start a road to recovery.
“We are looking to extend the project and our training course is intended to help more Leaders manage further Branching Out programmes.
“Rouken Glen provided an excellent location to put theory into practice and give trainees a firm grounding in leading this important mental health initiative.”
During the course at Rouken Glen Park, participants learned many new practical skills and policies in how to run the Branching Out programme. The skills learned are also linked to a wider training programme where mental health first aid is undertaken.
Those who attended the training days were from Forestry Commission Scotland, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, East Renfrewshire Council, New Caledonian Woodlands, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, and contractors working to deliver the programme for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Claire Paterson, Countryside Ranger with Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park said:
"The Branching Out programme is so rewarding to be a part of and I can't wait to continue this great work at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
"The leaders training course was very motivating and has given me valuable skills and increased confidence to deliver this programme. I'm feeling very enthusiastic and looking forward to our next programme starting in the Autumn."
Andy Ross from New Caledonian Woodlands added: "I found the course to be very professionally run and I learned a lot about Branching Out."
For more information on Branching Out log on to www.forestry.gov.uk/branchingout.
Notes to news editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland works as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.