‘Tree Tales’ was developed by Art Branches and funded as part of the NHS Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Plan 2020. Wellbeing was measured over an eight week intervention period and documented by the Faculty of Arts, Business and Applied Social Science, at University Campus Suffolk for the NHS and Suffolk Community Foundation.
The project aimed to improve wellbeing, by boosting confidence and participation in a social setting. A willow wetland, an ancient oak in Abbey gardens and the ancient cherry woodland in Suffolk Wildlife Trusts Arger fen were chosen as locations to inspire children in this project.
The ‘Tree Tales’ project involved a filmmaker, several visual artists, an environmental educator, a poet and a photographer. One of the creative outputs was a booklet, named after the project, with illustrations, poems and stories created by the children.
Feedback from Tree Tales:
“Tree tales was really good. It was a good experience to be with Stephanie because she was always happy and she made us feel happy. ” – Gianluca
“We felt that all the children enjoyed themselves and all said they had made some friends. It was great to see the young people enjoying being outside and learning about park life in a fun way. To put it in the context of mental health and wellbeing, some children said that they had never been to the park before and it was apparent that for some just having the freedom to run about and play was not only a joy, but something that through their family life they had limited opportunity to do. Helping children appreciate being outside and enjoying park life in itself is massively beneficial for their well-being.
Personally, from the session I attended with the older age group, I felt that the young people really absorbed and enjoyed what they were doing. They were exploring nature, without really realising that was what they were doing. Some of the group were very shy and nervous at the beginning of the session and one girl didn’t want her mother to leave her. However, by the end of the first session, she was enjoying herself and was confidently participating. When she met her mum at the end of the session she was smiling and had really enjoyed herself. Thank you for inviting us to work with you on this project.”- Young Peoples’ Service Manager, Suffolk Young Carers