Thrive Edinburgh – Physical Activity and Greenspaces

Thrive Edinburgh – Physical Activity and Greenspaces

To improve the mental health and wellbeing of people in Edinburgh by delivering a range of services and programmes to support the delivery of the Thrive Welcome Team and Thrive Collectives

Thrive Collective

ELGT are delighted to be part of the Thrive Physical and Greenspace Collective to develop and deliver services that improve the wellbeing of people in Edinburgh. The aim being to prevent or delay the need for more intensive support by enabling people to develop their own meaningful activities using greenspaces. By providing these opportunities we will help people to stay well. For more information on Thrive Edinburgh see here

The initiative will involve working with our contacts in the different localities across the city to promote meaningful activities for people with mental health conditions through the use of their local greenspaces. We will be working with the Wellbeing Hub teams and other agencies to develop a process of referrals and information sharing. This will involve promoting the benefits of greenspace at community hubs including local GP practices and community centres to help engage with the hard to reach groups. 

Greenspace Activities

Conservation activities are being offered throughout the seasons which would include, tree thinning, path clearance and litter picking that would help make the greenspaces more accessible, safe and welcoming. We would also offer bushcraft sessions where people can develop their skills such as willow weaving and making bird boxes. Each session runs for 3 hours in different locations for groups of up to 12 participants. There will be 2 programmes offered in each locality throughout the year. At the end of each programme, we will invite local community groups to introduce themselves and encourage the participants to join their local friends of parks group.


Woodland Programmes

The activities would follow the award-winning Branching Out programme that has been running since 2010 which is recognised by mental health professionals as delivering successful interventions. These will be run in suitable local woodlands which offer a safer and accessible environment. Each session run for 3hrs which involves a range of activities including tree I.D., environmental art, green exercise and relaxation.

People will be referred onto the programmes which have a maximum of 12 participants. We offer the John Muir Discovery award which is an accredited award which acknowledges the time spent discovering and conserving wild places. 

Once they have completed the programme as part of the celebration event we will invite local groups who offer regular activities to promote their work and encourage the participants to volunteer. We will encourage the participants to explore their local greenspaces and to take an active role in their local community. We would also signpost them to other community groups that they could join which will include friends of groups. 

Physical activities 

The physical activity programme involves a range of Walk and Talk Nature Walks which run on a regular basis to encourage targeted groups who do not get out much, to explore their local greenspaces. The proposal is to run a walking programmes in each locality which would involve using nearby greenspaces in the area. The sessions will initially be run between 1 hour and 2 hours long where participants will aim to gradually increase the level of activity by increasing the distance or time spent walking, while building up the social aspects to help them develop capacity and bond as a group. Refreshments will be provided at the end of each walk, which will encourage a more social atmosphere to the activities. The programme will be run in groups of approximately 12 people which will encourage the participants to gain new friendships.  It will also help reduce isolation and provide timely and appropriate interventions which promote recovery.  The routes will include sites with a heritage interest that can be used to help with cultural bridging. We are also keen to get volunteers involved who could become walk leaders.  


Jogging groups will be developed which start at a beginner’s level using local cycleways and greenspaces. They would run for an hour which will be short and gentle to start but can become more strenuous as the individuals develop. We will run these in groups of 12 participants. There will be 2 staff members for each group to enable it to be split in two depending on the abilities of the participants. They will be able to meet up at the end to relax together at a nearby café or community centre. Each programme will run for 12 sessions in each locality. 

The participants would then be signposted onto other local organisations including leisure centres that could provide a regular programme. 


Funded by: Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership


Each year to deliver the following

  • 144 Conservation sessions for 144 participants
  • 48 Woodland (Branching Out) sessions for 48 participants
  • 200 Walking sessions for 48 participants
  • 48 Jogging sessions for 48 participants


  • Deliver activities that encourage and build resilient communities by using local greenspaces
  • Deliver meaningful activities that are convenient and easily accessible throughout the city.
  • Enable participants to learn new skills to build their confidence
  • Provide activities that are enjoyable and enable people to come together at their own pace in an open environment.
  • Encourage people to lead healthier active lives through participating in physical activities for all abilities in their local greenspaces to help improve their self-esteem.
  • Enabling participants to link up with local community groups so they can continue to participate sustainably