I joined my local (then) BTCV run group North Norfolk Workout Project in 2010 when I was handed one of their programmes by my step-mother. Their activities included control of invasive species, tree planting and wildlife surveys. My first session with them involved performing earthworm and air quality surveys for OPAL. I was about to start an environmental science course with the Open University, and this seemed a great way to get some practical experience.
The group was part-funded by the NHS to help people with mental and other health issues get in contact with nature. The link between exposure to nature and mental well-being was then being explored extensively. I was suffering from low mood at the time, and quite unexpectedly from my point of view, this began to improve a great deal. Working with a range of different people, at a variety of sites throughout North Norfolk, gave me a new passion, a sense of purpose, and a feeling that I was contributing something to society.
I can look back on those days with some pride now. I will never forget the time I spent with the group.