22 Oct 2019

Branching Out programme branches out!

Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT)’s acclaimed  programme that offers support to people with mental health issues is set to continue across Argyll and Bute over the next two years.

ACT has secured £150K of funding to deliver Branching Out Argyll and Moving On, woodland-based programmes of outdoor activities, to help participants overcome mental health issues caused by loneliness, isolation, and stigma.

Developed by Scottish Forestry and delivered by Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT), the Branching Out programme in Argyll and Bute supports residents referred locally from NHS Community Mental Health teams through 12 weekly sessions of supported activities. Each session is a 5-hour day in the woods in all weathers and can include building shelters, green woodworking, bush craft, tool use, conservation activities, gentle exercise, cooking on campfires and environmental art.

Moving On is a progression programme on offer to a wider range of participants with long term health conditions and welcomes Branching Out graduates.  The project continues to work with local community woodlands to provide venues for this supported volunteering programme.

Nathalie Moriarty, Branching Out Manager for Scottish Forestry said:
“We are delighted that this amazing programme has again won funding support to help maintain its momentum in Argyll.
“The programme makes a positive impact on people struggling with their mental health. It is a real lifeline for participants that introduces them to new people, new situations, new skills and new opportunities.

“The first few years of Branching Out in Argyll have been hugely successful and has seen the development of an amazing partnership with ACT and their Branching Out delivery team whose enthusiasm and commitment have been really inspiring and infectious!”

Scottish Forestry helped support the development of the programme The programme is co-funded by
• National Lottery Community Fund Scotland (£50k for each of the two years)
• Transforming Self Management Fund (£30k)
• Scottish Forestry, that will also provide funding of £20k

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will contribute to two years of Branching Out programmes across Argyll and Bute.

Notes to editors

  1. Scottish Forestry is responsible for delivering Scottish Ministers’ forestry policy, regulation, grants incentives, technical forestry advice and new cross border arrangements.
  2. Argyll and Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT) - launched as a SCIO in 2014 - is a community led organisation that works in partnership with communities, private organisations and public agencies to sustainably maintain, enhance and promote the coast and Countryside of Argyll and the Isles for the benefit of the people who live, work and visit here.
  3. Branching Out - is an initiative developed in 2007 by the then named Forestry Commission Scotland (now Scottish Forestry) , the NHS and the Glasgow Centre for population Health. It now runs across Scotland and delivers up to 50 projects a year. Participants are referred onto the programme via a mental health service and are supported through the 12 weeks.
  4. The National Lottery Community Fund – is the largest community funder in the UK –awarding money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, it has made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
  5. The Transforming Self Management Fund is awarded by the Health and Social Care Alliance which is offered under the Working Together to Strengthen Integration Fund, provide by the Scottish Government. The William Grant Foundation has contributed 15% of this award.
  6. www.forestry.gov.scot | www.twitter.com/ScotForestry
  7. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.