News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Branching Out celebrates holding 300 projects

Branching Out – FCS’s award-winning mental health and wellbeing project – celebrates holding 300 projects helping over 2,000 people since it was launched 10 years ago.  

Branching Out

Branching Out has delivered up to 50 projects a year within 10 NHS board areas. The programme has supported over 900 people in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area alone with more than 100 projects.

Branching Out takes place in forests, woodlands and other green spaces where participants take part in a range of activities covering key areas such as bushcraft skills, practical conservation, physical activity, creativity and environmental art, and personal development or learning.

Branch cuttingNathalie Moriarty, FCS’s Branching Out Manager said: “The pioneering 12-week programme is designed to help improve people’s confidence, mental wellbeing and communication skills through a range of outdoor activities. Mental health is vital for a healthy and happy life. As people become more aware of their own mental health, outdoor programmes such as Branching Out have become ever more relevant and effective. It can be life changing for those who take part, they feel more confident and develop better social skills to go on and enjoy other local activities which help ensure they continue to move forward on their journey of mental health recovery.” 

Originally developed and funded by FCS, the success of the programme has enabled FCS to pass the structured model onto partner organisations and provide an outdoor training and accreditation programme for leaders, which has been endorsed by the Institute for Outdoor Learning and NHS Health Scotland.