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Activities in nature

The target group of the Työkykyä ja hyvinvointia luonnosta project ('Work ability and wellbeing from nature') is people who are unemployed or at risk of becoming unemployed and people at risk of marginalisation. In this good practice, nature is made use of as much as possible and in different ways. The aim is to improve clients' work ability through the wellbeing provided by nature.

Implementation of the good practice 

We use nature in a variety of ways. We make low-threshold trips to different natural environments. For example, we go for a short walk in the vicinity of the workshop, drive from the densely populated area to a forest to pick berries or mushrooms or go fishing. We make trips to Rokua Geopark, which offers a wide variety of hiking routes and lean-tos and shelters for cooking and eating a packed lunch.

The packed lunch and sitting by the campfire are an important part of trips to nature and part of our culture. The participants can stop by the campfire and talk to each other in a relaxed atmosphere. On the trips, we take into account the participants' physical condition and when necessary, it is also possible to reach the lean-to by car if the distance is too long for someone to walk.

We make at least one trip per week in autumn and spring and go cross-country skiing or have short walks in the vicinity of the workshop in winter.

Results

The challenges of everyday life may be stressful to clients. Many may find it difficult to go to the forest on their own, but it is easier and more meaningful to do it as part of a group. According to the feedback we have received, the trips have been popular and well-liked. According to our observations, nature has empowered and relaxed clients. Activities in nature improve people's physical condition and a good physical condition in turn improves their ability to work.                           

How to take advantage of the good practice

Trips to nature and picking berries and mushrooms are not expensive to organise. Trips to nature are safe and familiar activities for most people who life in the area. Nature is within easy reach.

In future, the maintenance of hiking routes and their signposting require a lot of maintenance.

Inquiries:

Tuomas Koskela, North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, tel. +358 295 038 506, tuomas.koskela(at)ely-keskus.fi

Work ability and wellbeing from nature in Facebook (in Finnish):

Further information on the project:

Structural Fund Information Service S20953
Priority axis 5. Social inclusion and combating poverty
Specific objective 10.1 Improving the ability of those outside employment to work and function