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York Mental Health Directory
  • St Nicks

  • Address: St Nicks Environment Centre
    Rawdon Ave
    Tang Hall
    York
  • Postcode: YO10 3ST
  • Telephone: 01904411821
  • Website: stnicks.org.uk
  • Email: ecotherapy@stnicks.org.uk
  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and some weekends as advertised. Closed bank holidays. The 24 acre nature reserve is open 24/7.
  • Eligibility: Open to all adults over 18 experiencing mental distress
St Nicks
St Nicks Environment Centre
Rawdon Ave
Tang Hall
York,YO10 3ST

Service Details

St Nicks provides ecotherapy, which promotes good mental and physical wellbeing through outdoor activity in the natural environment. They offer free group activities every weekday and one to one intensive mentoring as required.

Ecotherapy programmes like the one at St Nicks can have the following benefits: 

  • Reduction in stress levels
  • Reduction in depression and anxiety
  • Improved their self-esteem
  • Increased levels of physical activity
  • Opportunities to build up resilience
  • Increased social interaction
  • Confidence boosted through the learning of new skills
  • Feelings of happiness by positively contributing towards the environment

Their programme works in the following way:

  • Group activities are led by trained session workers.
  • All participants receive one to one mentor support alongside group engagement.
  • Activities occur both on and off site and are free to participants.
  • Groups are timetabled around the lunch hour encouraging increased social opportunities.
  • All activities are organised around getting involved with nature as the main focus.
  • Groups are time limited with opportunities to stay involved longer term through a peer support model.
  • Join through referral. Referral forms can be posted to you by request. Just fill it in and send to ecotherapy@stnicks.org.uk

Ecotherapy activities at St Nicks change throughout the year and include:

  • Bearing Fruit: Be part of the development of a community orchard at St Nicks Nature Reserve. Learn conservation skills including scything, pruning and creating wildlife habitats. This is offered on Mondays from 1pm-3pm at St Nicks.
  • Green Exercise: Cycling: Bring your own bike and helmet or borrow them for free from St Nicks for cycling around various paths in York. It is led by a qualified instructor and is appropriate for all abilities. It sets off from the Environment Centre on Mondays from 10am-12pm. Nordic Walking: Explore the reserve and Hull Road Park with a qualified instructor. Instructions and Nordic Walking poles are provided. Nordic Walking is suitable for all ages and abilities. It sets off from the Environment Centre on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm. Outdoor Tai Chi: Tai Chi is led by a qualified instructor and uses movement for general health benefits for mind and body. It is held on Wednesdays from 1pm-3pm at St Nicks Dragon Stones, except in very wet weather in which they will meet at Tang Hall Community Centre.
  • Discover Nature: Learn more about the natural world in a seasonally themed session in a safe and nurturing environment. Sessions include wildlife-based activities, including nature walks, animal surveys, and art work creation. Discover Nature is on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm at St Nicks.
  • Connecting to Nature Seasonal activities including Creative Writing, outdoor Thai Chi, Nature based Crafts, etc.  Each session starts with a short walk around the reserve before a discussion around the theme for writing.
  • Get Gardening: Learn how to garden creatively in different settings using a variety of means, including the use of a polytunnel, container planting and making the most of smaller spaces. Growing activities will include introducing natural pest control, feeding, plant care, seed collecting and innovative irrigation. It is in the gardening space at the Environment Centre on Thursdays from 1pm-3pm.
  • Plot to Plate: Help to manage the allotment and learn the principles of organic gardening and the benefits of eating seasonally. It is a year-round activity at the Holgate Allotment Site on Fridays from 2pm-4pm.

Referral Criteria

Complete and return a Referral Form to St Nicks. Referral forms can be found via the St. Nick’s website or by collection or post. Once received the Project Manager will make contact and set up an initial meeting to discuss options.