The Hawthorn Project is a project for people whose identity includes woman based at Tortworth Forest Centre. We invite people who struggle with their mental health to join us for our weekly woodland sessions, to build confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.
Throughout the programme participants will develop skills and confidence that will support their wellbeing and improve self-esteem. The programme is completely free to participants.
The project is the first of its kind, run by women for women. It started in 2015 as a project for women in recovery from substance abuse to offer women the opportunity to step outside of their day-to-day lives and spend some time in a safe space learning new skills, creating positive social connections and a break from focusing on their addiction.
In 2022 we opened it to any woman who may benefit from it, especially women who wouldn’t normally access a place or activities like this.
Participants report improvements in their physical health, their relationships with their families, their self-esteem and their enjoyment of life.
Learning new skills
As part of the Hawthorn Project, women learn woodland skills such as fire lighting, outdoor cooking, plant, wildlife and birdsong identification, crafts and tool use. This is all taught in such a way so as to improve confidence, encourage peer support and teamwork, and of course to be enjoyable.
All the activities are non-compulsory – we recognise the value of a good cup of tea and a chat! All we ask is our women come with a positive attitude and allow those who are doing activities to do so with encouragement and positivity.
Women who attend the project say that it gives them something to look forward to each week, and a reason to stay sober. This project can dramatically change lives, creating a positive support network that will last beyond the duration of the project; women will have the support network, the tools and resources they need to continue their recovery.
When participants feel ready, we offer support to join one of the volunteering and conservation opportunities at Tortworth Forest Centre to further improve their confidence and skills.
How to make a referral
Please email email@example.com to get our current referral form. This should be filled in by a GP/Therapist or Support Worker and by the person wanting to attend.