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'River Health' Project

One of the most profound learning from The Skill Mill has been the multitude of benefits contact with nature has on the youngsters we employ. It's not only rehabilitative, in terms of altering life-courses and diverting young people from crime - it is also hugely beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing. It is this combination of a paid job, meaningful physical outdoor work, learning and skill development which combine to change the identities of the participants.

In Northumberland we have taken these key ingredients a step further. Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and in partnership with Northumberland Rivers Trust we are delivering our 'River Health' Project. The young people are building fish passes, undertaking river bank stabilisation, control of invasive species e.g. Himalayan Balsam and debris removal. We also organise guided walks where the young people explain the habitats, river-side fauna and flora and talk about the environmental improvement work they have been doing. What makes this extra special is that the guided walks are attended by patients with a #social #prescription from their GP. Building on the work of fellow #socialimpact Bond Ways To Wellness we aim to support over 200 people in this way and employ 12 young ex-offenders in the process over the next year. If you are interested to know more please get in touch by emailing


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