Open Aye for Recovery Outdoors, 2013


Open Aye ran a health-orientated participatory photography project with people in recovery through COMA’s Serenity Café in Edinburgh and Glasgow Association of Mental Health. The project was designed to highlight the benefits of outdoor, health-based activities in improving wellbeing and quality of life.

Open Aye designed a series of workshops based in outdoor settings including visits to parks and reserves, therapeutic gardening projects, green gyms, health walks and ranger-guided walks. The sessions introduced the participants to a variety of healthy green activities whilst also delivering basic photography skills lessons.

By the end of the project, the participants had learned new skills and experienced new activities. All participants reported an increase in confidence, improved levels of photographic skills and enjoyment from working as a team. 90% of participants stated that they would now spend more time in nature and 80% said that they were more likely to consider going outside to improve their mood and to exercise.

The groups’ images were exhibited as part of a peer education exercise. The aim was for the images to be used for communication materials that would encourage similar groups in recovery to access the outdoors more often to improve their health and wellbeing.

Overall, the Open Aye for Recovery Outdoors project encouraged the learning of new skills, creative expression, the experience of the outdoors, improvements in self-confidence and working together to create multi-media visual outputs with the potential to have a lasting impact on those in recovery.

This project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (now Nature Scotland).

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