St Nicks

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St Nicks say:

St Nicks is the green heart of York: a centre for nature and green living. The charity started as ‘Friends of St Nicholas Fields’ in the 1990s by transforming a former landfill site into a thriving Local Nature Reserve. We continue to manage it, with the help of many great volunteers, for the benefit of both wildlife and our visitors. The name of the site and the secular charity comes from the middle ages when the area was owned and managed by St Nicholas hospital and church.

We are based at St Nicks Environment Centre which combines many green features. From this base, we run projects, events and services which help to make York more sustainable. The Centre is available for hire for meetings, seminars and other events. We hope you will visit us soon.

St Nicks is registered as ‘Friends of St Nicholas Fields’, charity no.1153739. We are partially funded by City of York Council and partly by grants from other sources whose support is gratefully received and acknowledged on this page. The rest of our income comes from membership, donations, fundraising events and other activities.

Nordic Walking group at St Nicks

With thanks to the Purey Cust Trust, we have been able to develop our Nordic Walking group at St Nicks, within our wider Ecotherapy Programme to support people in their recovery from mental ill health.

Evidence confirms that connecting to nature with green exercise improves both self-esteem and mood, as well as emotional and physical resilience. Nordic Walking maximises a walking workout by using up to 90% of the skeletal muscles, and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is very much enjoyed. 90% of our Ecotherapy participants have reported significant improvements in their overall mental and physical wellbeing.

Case Study:

Brian (name changed) self-referred to the Nordic Walking group at St Nicks. He had seen a poster about our Nordic Walking session on the Derwenthorpe Community notice board & made contact with us. Brian talked about his interest in walking, the natural world and many other outdoor based activities at our initial meeting, but expressed that due to his depression and anxiety he was finding getting outside difficult. He also shared that he had been suffering from a frozen shoulder for over a year, causing him constant pain. He was discharged from the NHS Physio care in January 2018 and reported that there had been no further improvement in his shoulder at our point of meeting. The constant physical pain was having a regular, negative impact on Brian’s mood.

Brian wished to improve not only his general physical health, but also specifically his long standing frozen shoulder problem. He also wished to improve his mood, lift his depression, improve his sleep quality and increase his social opportunities.

Brian attended weekly on the Skills and Technique Nordic Walking session (1-2pm). After a few sessions, he asked to stay on and attended the Nordic Walking session (2-3pm) straight after the Skills session to ‘’try it out’’. He said that even after just a few weeks he noticed how much better he felt both Physically & mentally. It was agreed that after four sessions of skills learning, Brian was ready to move on and fully participate on the 2-3pm Nordic Walking session of which he is now a part.

Referring to his frozen shoulder: “Since attending the Nordic Walking sessions the range of movement has increased markedly and is increasingly pain free.”

“I am still taking anti-depressants but the Nordic Walking experience really lifts my mood each Tuesday.”

“I normally have poor quality sleep day by day. After the Nordic Walking I have noticed an improvement in my sleep quality each Tuesday.”

“the group is very friendly and I’m enjoying getting to know people and seeing them each week.”

Speaking with Brian in general conversation, he mentioned that he’s feeling a lot better in many ways. He recognises that feeling a part of something has been ‘more powerful’ than he ever envisioned. He mentioned that other relationships in his life, outside of St Nicks, had improved because, not only was he feeling stronger mentally & physically, but also he had new things to share & talk about.

Thank you for the opportunity to address both my mental and physical health in such a friendly supportive place. I come to the Eco-Active days at St Nicks, and the friendliness and welcoming feel stretches across the entire organisation. I always feel lifted and like I achieved something after coming to St Nicks

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