A learning disabled man and woman walking in nature

Adventure therapy in somerset

The Discovery Community Fund has awarded Adventure Therapy a grant of almost £33,000 to provide outdoor activities to adults with additional needs in Somerset.

The charity already supports children and adults in Devon and Cornwall to explore the outdoors, and is keen to expand across the South West.

All of the activities are designed to improve mental health, wellbeing, vitality and create a sense of accomplishment. This has been particularly important during lockdown.

Adventure Therapy provides a wide range of activities such as surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding through to hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, treetop adventures and caving.

“We’re really excited to be able to provide our activities in Somerset; this will be a brilliant opportunity to support adults with learning disabilities and autism through time spent in nature and adventure.”

Rob Emery, Founder and Chief Executive
Harley in his zip hat

21-year-old Harley has a learning disability. He needs normality in his life and to meet new people – and he loves the outdoors. Adventure Therapy enabled him to have an adrenaline-fuelled experience on England’s longest zip-wire, in Cornwall.

“Due to the lockdown Harley’s speech has suffered greatly. He’s stammering and can’t get his words out. He’s a sociable young man who needs stimulating by other people being around him but due to COVID, he hasn’t been able to access anything, until now. Harley was buzzing when he got off the zip-wire! He said it was “awesome”. Thank you so much.”

Pat, Harley’s mum.

The charity offers self-referral, by a parent or guardian, social worker, medical specialist or GP, another charity or through a school or college. Activities can be provided on a one-to-one basis or as part of a group, which is particularly beneficial for people who feel isolated, enabling participants to support each other and build friendships.

“As we provide our activities we gain support from the communities we serve. This could be through volunteering or donations and it helps to make our charity sustainable in the long-term.”

Rob Emery

Rob explains why he founded the charity:

“I’m an advocate for spending time in the outdoors and the positive difference it makes to overall wellbeing. I’ve seen how it can change lives for people with a variety of health conditions and how it can create treasured memories for families. I realised there was a need for someone to offer a range of activities for varying abilities and where possible, to provide those sessions free of charge.”

The 12-month project started in December 2020. Initially the charity will find activity instructors to work with in Somerset that share the ethos, vision and values of Adventure Therapy and register them as approved activity providers.

Adventure Therapy is keen to hear from volunteers who would like to help raise awareness about its work, help attract referrals to its service or run activity sessions. There are numerous ways in which volunteers can make a difference. If you’d like to get involved please contact Rob Emery on rob.emery@adventuretherapy.org.uk or 01271 865285, for an informal chat.

To find out more about the charity, visit the website here