Enhancing community wellbeing and building a strong resilient community culture
Building strong resilient communities is key when it comes to envisaging a sustainable future for the region.
Community is hugely important, and we at Burrenbeo are passionate about building community networks through our charity, while also celebrating our communities through our programmes. The Burren is such a spectacular landscape, playing host to a remarkable nest of communities within – both residents and visitors. We are eager to investigate how these communities can enhance their wellbeing by utilising the landscape and surroundings which are readily available to them. Developing this information provides us with the toolkit to address needs and work towards future wellbeing enhancement through our work.
Connecting with the landscape and enhancing our physical and mental wellbeing
Through our Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers programme and the array of exciting events organised, we
encourage sustainable engagement with the landscape with the view to conserving the local biodiversity, landscape, history and heritage; while also enhancing the wellbeing of our volunteers. There has been much research to date arguing a strong correlation between connecting with nature and improved physical and mental wellbeing amongst individuals. Such studies have shown an increase in social connectedness, self-esteem and a greater sense of self-worth arising from connecting with natural surroundings (Zhang et al, 2014). Conservation volunteering in particular has been proven to have a significant impact on increased physical and mental wellbeing enhancement, as it not only gives individuals a chance to improve their local environments in an informative way, but they have an opportunity to increase physical health through activities (otherwise known as ‘Green Gyming’); be a part of a team; and become more socially connected (Thompson Coon et al., 2011).
As Ireland’s only landscape charity, Burrenbeo are passionate about investing in our volunteers, ensuring that every outing is led by an expert in the field; appropriate health and safety measures are adhered to; and we do not believe in all work and no play – it is pivotal to the success of the volunteers that there is an opportunity to socially engage with each other, have fun and share a nice cup of tea, chat and biscuits in between. Our volunteers are involved in numerous citizen science projects and work hard to inform research.
Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers is an extremely open and welcoming group of likeminded people who care about the Burren and indeed, the community. You don’t have to be from the Burren to be a part of this team, so why not join this active group today
PhD in Community Engagement with the landscape
Building strong community-university relationships is imperative when it comes to conducting research and working towards informing policy. This is why Burrenbeo Trust are helping to facilitate the field research of Elaine Williams, as she is currently undertakes her PhD in association with the Trust and NUI Galway.
Elaine commenced her PhD in Geography at NUI Galway in September 2015. She is hugely interested in and passionate about all things landscape, environment and community related. Intrigued by the rich and interactive society which is present and visible within the Burren, Elaine’s research aims to explore how various communities connect with their landscape through association with the Trust, and from that identify the core benefits and outputs of doing so. Based on her prior MA research exploring wellbeing impacts of built environments on people, this project endeavours to articulate and identify the significance of community engagement within this unique and special Burren landscape. It will offer an insight into potential areas of growth and development for Burrenbeo Trust, but most importantly it will provide suggestions that aim to enhance the wellbeing of our communities. For more information on her developing research please contact Elaine on [email protected]