PEOPLE in 78 care homes across Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside are taking part in The Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild challenge, which started this week.

30 Days Wild is the UK’s biggest nature challenge and encourages everyone to do something that connects them to nature every single day during the month of June.

Recent research shows that taking part in 30 Days Wild not only significantly increases people’s happiness, health and sense of nature – but that these positive increases are sustained beyond the life of the challenge – for a minimum of two months after it is over. The people who benefit most are those who have a relatively weak connection with nature at the start.

The Wildlife Trusts provide free online activity packs to help participants of all ages find new, easy ways of noticing nature – even while social distancing.

Special resources are available for care home residents to help them enjoy their grounds; these were developed after a Derbyshire care home group discovered significant benefits when their residents’ lives included more time outdoors, looking at and talking about nature and wildlife.

Another pack has been created to help elderly people explore their wild side from the comfort of their own homes.

The latest figures show 3,554 people are taking part which is a record for the region.

Chief Executive of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Anne Selby said: “Care homes across the region have been affected by the Coronavirus and residents and staff must feel isolated from the rest of the community.

"Hopefully, taking part in 30 Days Wild will be something that will give them a sense of being involved while enjoying the amazing wild creatures and beautiful plants that early summer offers.

“Activities will improve their physical and mental well-being at a time that has caused major disruptions in their lives. And we must salute the care home staff members who have seen this as an opportunity to raise spirits.”

Louise Baker of Your Health Limited says: "The benefits of 30 Days Wild have been far-reaching for our staff and residents and have lasted well beyond June. Residents have been reminded of their own wild childhoods, reminiscing and telling stories of summers gone by. The sensory benefits of nature, of soothing scents and textures, have really inspired us too. Staff and residents can engage in meaningful conversations and feel much closer to one another. We have also noticed that residents are less inclined to anxiety when they're engaged with nature; nature has a habit of calming the soul and does wonders for residents' mental wellbeing.

“We're taking part in 30 Days Wild for our third consecutive year and cannot wait to get stuck into the amazing activities we have planned. Last year was particularly wild, as residents planted, puddle-jumped, cloud-spotted and bird-watched. Staff and residents had picnics and threw seedballs, created wild art and made bird feeders. This year we have even more ideas, which will span a whole month of wildness.

“We are thrilled that so many care homes are joining us this year, and cannot wait to hear about their adventures. 30 Days Wild inspires us all to take notice of what is around us, to slow down and quite literally smell the flowers. Residents in care homes are often prone to feelings of loneliness and isolation, however many people may surround them. By engaging with nature, residents are connected to one another, with mutual enjoyment and wonder. They're also reminded of so many memories, which may be jogged by certain sounds, scents and textures. 30 Days Wild is a fabulous excuse to get outside and experience the fresh air – it’s too good to pass up!"

Leanne Manchester, Communications Manager of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “30 Days Wild is fun for all ages and we provide ideas and activities for people whatever their circumstances – for individuals, families, schools and businesses. Last year we experimented with an activity pack for care homes and we were really delighted that a large number were interested. So many of us are seeking solace in nature during the pandemic but even we were surprised – and thrilled – that double the number of care homes have signed up to do 30 Days Wild this June.

“We have also developed a new guide to going wild for people supporting elderly relatives at home – to help them experience the wild, even if they’re stuck indoors. 30 Days Wild helps people get closer to nature and enjoy the small, everyday things.”

Sign-up, download the inspiration and get ready to share your daily #30DaysWild now!