DD Charity Blog
A place for us to highlight the great work of charitable groups we are supporting with donations of DD Hammocks Gear each month. We are proud to be working with community engagement programs, mental health charities and more to provide equipment and easy access to the great outdoors for those in need.
DD Charity Update - October 2022
Just because autumn has arrived and the temperatures have begun to cool doesn't mean that the adventure should stop - or the humanitarian work!
Nature can be just as healing in autumn as is it in spring or summer, and it's especially important for those can who benefit most from the great outdoors to continue to get out and about to recharge and restore themselves.
For the month of October we've teamed up with and donated sets of our charity gear to Blackdog Outdoors - a charity who take mental health seriously and utilise the benefits of nature to assist those in need to heal! - as well as Glasgow based charity The Children's Wood and Meadow, a grassroots initiative to get young children outside into nature.
For more information about Blackdog Outdoors, The Children's Wood and Meadow and all the fantastic work they do, read on!
Blackdog Outdoors is a fully registered, not-for-profit, award winning mental health charity dedicated to providing FREE access to outdoor activities and adventures. Improving mental health and wellbeing by reconnecting people with the outdoors and nature, in a safe, accessible, and supported environment.
Established in 2018 by two friends, and with some incredible support from the outdoor community, Blackdog Outdoors has grown into a UK wide organisation delivering around 200 outdoor events and activities each year. Providing equipment, instructors, and Mental Health First Aid support at every event. Blackdog Outdoors hosts a variety of different adventurous activities including well-being walks, hiking, mountaineering, navigation and map reading, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, rock climbing, bouldering, abseiling, bushcraft classes, yoga, and more.
Alongside their free-to-attend activities and team building and development services, Blackdog also provide opportunities for training and development, delivering accredited navigation and map reading qualifications from the National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) and the Mountain Training Association (MTA) - enabling the next generation of outdoor instructors and event leaders the opportunity to consolidate their training and prepare themselves for future roles in the outdoor industry.
John Gale is one of the co-founders of Blackdog Outdoors and had the following to say about the origins of their work:
“It feels like incredible privilege when I remember where we were when it all started… I was perched on the side of a rock face, basking like a lizard in southern Spain, and my friend and fellow co-founder was high on the side of a cold, snowy mountain somewhere in Russia. Like many people, these were goals that we had worked hard all year to enjoy. We were chatting on Whatsapp, sharing our adventures with one another, and talking about the amazing way in which these activities made us feel. The connection to people, the shared enthusiasm, the camaraderie we develop. Regardless of our cultures, our different words, or religions, when we are together in the outdoors, we speak the same language.
We also share another piece of common ground; both of our lives have been deeply affected by the trauma and impact that poor mental health can have. With several friends already lost, and our own personal experiences with feelings of anxiety and depression, we were acutely aware of two competing factors…
1 - Being outdoors, in Nature, having even a little adventure, massively benefits your mental wellbeing and state of mind.
2 – Having anxiety and depression can make it incredibly difficult to actually get outdoors and experience those benefits.
It seemed to us that the people who would benefit most from these activities, were the ones who find it difficult to come and get involved.
And so, the idea was born…we would draw on all of our friends in the outdoor industry for support, and provide a safe, inclusive, supported outdoor event for people who otherwise might struggle to get involved. A new model, in which we embrace, accept, and provide open support for people’s poor mental health. Breaking down their barriers for participation, taking care of the difficult stuff like organisation, equipment, insurance, etc. And allowing those who may actually benefit the most, the chance to come along and find their own way into the outdoor community.
Our first event was an incredible success, and the model we have developed has continued to grow and evolve, so much so that we now see it being replicated across the UK. Which is absolutely fantastic for us to see and a real testament to the outdoor community as a whole, who have embraced and encouraged us with open arms since day one”.
Blackdog Outdoors now work in partnership with a wide variety of organisations including the British Mountaineering Council, Mountain Training Association, Mountaineering Scotland, the NHS, the LGBT foundation, Aspirations Care, Spaces4Autism, the College of Paramedics and many more.
If you would like to find out more about Blackdog Outdoors and how to get involved with their huge range of events and activities, you can find out more on their Website as well as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The Children's Wood and Meadow is a charity that serves the city of Glasgow in the last wild space of the West-end in North Kelvin Meadow, focusing on preserving and using the natural land as a way of introducing children to the joys of nature within an urban environment.
Explaining their ethos on their website, The Children's wood explains;
"Our aim is to connect people to nature, raise aspirations and involve people in the management of the land. People are increasingly disconnected from nature and this is having serious mental and physical health implications. Our Dear Wild Place can redress the imbalance right in the heart of our community. Some children who’ve been to the land through local schools have said this is the first time they’ve been outside to play in months, or ever, and they loved it.
Despite living in a society where materially life has never been so good, some things are getting worse and we’re noticing an increasing number of problems associated with modern living such as depression, anxiety, obesity, food poverty, the achievement gap and so on. Children as young as 8 are contacting services because they feel so stressed they can’t cope. We believe the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow can play a role in tackling some of these 21st Century problems and minimise the impact of the more challenging aspects of modern living.
Being outside, even if it’s just to play and have fun, can reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem and attention span in children. The same is true for adults and for problems like depression; spending time in nature can be as effective as antidepressants in reducing symptoms. It’s a simple, free, activity with no side effects. The land and the work The Children’s Wood does around the land looks to facilitate community and bring people together and work together to manage the land. Not only can the land help to alleviate negative feelings and thoughts but it can boost well-being and help people and our community to flourish."
The Children's Wood and Meadow works to preserve this area of land fior future generations by educating and working with local organisations and schools as well as getting involved by hosting nature playgroups in all conditions to start sparking the imaginations of young ones. They also look to advance community development and citizenship by orking with the local community around North Kelvin Meadow in the nearby wards within City of Glasgow, as well as creating intergenerational opportunities and engaging with harder to reach groups through events and linking up with other groups within the community.
We sincerely hope that The Children's Wood and Meadow enjoy their new DD Charity hammocks and tarps, and that they continue to preserve their little patch of natural paradise for many generations to come!
There's still plenty of time to get involved in the outdoors this year!
Do you know of a charity or group that workls tirelessly to provide a gateway to the natural world for those less fortunate, or works to conserve the land we live in for good causes?
If you think they would benefit from some free DD Charity hammocks and tarps, as well as a spot on the DD Charity Blog to showcase their work, services and successes, we want to hear from you!
Help us help others in need, and get involved by getting in touch with us via our DD Charity contact form.
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About the writer
A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.