Grant backing for heritage landscape trail
A partnership aimed at improving well-being while promoting local heritage and the environment is about to get stronger thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.
Brecon Mind’s Ecotherapy group teamed up with Brecon Cathedral in December last year for the Green Minds project, which provides a supportive and caring environment for individuals with existing mental health issues or for those at risk of becoming mentally unwell. Members share a common interest in the natural world, whether through walking, gardening, conservation or taking part in creative activities working with natural materials.
Now the project will be able to provide learning experiences for children and adults, therapeutic experience for volunteers, and a sustainable and exciting trail for the community and its visitors, thanks to its latest initiative.
1,000 Years of Calm: A Heritage Landscape Trail at Brecon Cathedral - a collaboration between Brecon Cathedral and its Convivium initiative, the Green Minds group, History and Heritage students at the University of the West of England (Bristol), and Priory School - has been awarded £9,000 by the HLF as part of its Heritage Grants scheme, which is also supported by Cadw and the Welsh Government.
The grant will allow history and heritage students at UWE Bristol to research the heritage landscape of Brecon Cathedral. This will lead to the creation of a heritage trail around the cathedral close, with QR codes linked to stories of the history of the site.
A new heritage garden will provide gardening workshops both for the children of Priory Church in Wales Primary School and for adults suffering from mental health issues, isolation, and alienation. This will be a public workshop offered by trained workshop leaders from Mind.
“The project ticks so many of the boxes of our ministry here, especially with Convivium. It will engage people not only with nature but also our local heritage in ways that promote well-being. That we’re doing this in partnership with the Green Minds project means that we can bring real expertise to this initiative,” Brecon Cathedral’s Canon Mark Clavier said.
Jess Tanner, Brecon Mind’s Green Minds facilitator, said: “We are delighted to have received funding from the HLF in partnership with Brecon Cathedral. The fund will enable our group to expand our community garden area within the cathedral grounds and provide more opportunities for local people wishing to improve their mental and physical wellbeing alongside a friendly and supportive group of green-minded individuals.
“The Green Minds project is a year-round wellbeing service where our group members can take part in organic gardening, mindfulness walking and environmental arts and craft making activities.
“As part of our partnership with 1000 Years of Calm we will be creating a new, heritage vegetable garden area where we will explore the history of produce grown within monastic gardens, learn about seed saving, as well as grow our own organic veg for local community groups.
“We begin work in January where we will be creating some no-dig veg growing beds and preparing the ground for planting come spring.”
The initiative has also been backed by Archbishop John, who said: "Brecon Cathedral (formerly the Priory Church of St John the Evangelist) sits in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral Close, in company with a number of other medieval buildings. Until the Reformation this was the location of a Benedictine Community.
“The cathedral close is a place of tranquillity and, together with the cathedral itself, it offers a perfect setting for quiet reflection and contemplation. Making best use of this setting, its lovely grounds, and the heritage of the site will enable us to better serve, enhance and promote the well-being of visitors. The tranquil atmosphere has the potential to be of particular benefit to those who may be struggling with mental health and other challenging issues.
“With this in mind, it has been encouraging to recognise the developing working relationship between the Cathedral and Brecon Mind, and it gives me great pleasure to both endorse and support this project.”
“We would like to welcome those in the Brecon and surrounding communities with an interest in food growing and gardening, looking to improve and maintain their levels of health and wellbeing during the winter months ahead to get in touch where you can find out more and how to get involved,” Jess said.
People who want to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org
More online ecotherapy based resources are available at www.brecongreenminds.co.uk