Frontline Futures: Programmes

During 2019, we ran Woodland Resilience Immersions for Hospital Doctors, GP’s, and mental health professionals. We are currently in the planning phase for programmes in 2020. The description below gives you an indication of the programme format.


Nature-based ways to resource yourself and your practice

Hazel Hill Wood, near Salisbury: June 10-11, 2019

The impact on GP’s of prolonged overload, and the stress of facing ever-rising demands with shrinking resources, needs creative responses. This Woodland Resilience Immersion offers a different way to gain new insights and skills, to raise your resilience and nourish your wellbeing."P1020985.JPG"These programmes have been jointly developed by Hazel Hill Trust and Westminster Centre for Resilience. Following two very successful pilot programmes with hospital doctors, they are now offering a pilot group tailored to GP’s.In 2018, Westminster Centre for Resilience recognised that a more immersive, catalytic process than the typical half or one-day session in an urban training room was what many health professionals needed.Hazel Hill Wood have several years’ experience of delivering nature-based resilience programmes for a range of front-line services. These Immersions offer a unique combination of both teams’ expertise. The format for the June programme is a one-night, 28-hour residential, including the following elements:

  • Conservation work and physical activities together to de-stress, relax into the woods and shift gear.
  • An evening campfire circle for sharing, mutual support and insights on work stresses
  • Learning about resilience from the woodland ecosystem, and practical tools for our own wellbeing and our teams.
  • Practicing simple techniques based on applied neurobiology, mindfulness and traditional sources which can be used in everyday work.
  • Processes and time to consider better approaches for tackling work challenges and systemic pressures.

CREDENTIALSWhilst the idea of Nature immersion for medics may seem novel, there is good research evidence for it. For example, the book Your Brain on Nature, written by two doctors at Harvard Medical School, sets out extensive research support for the specific benefits of Nature contact in offsetting high levels of stress, Directed Attention Fatigue, information overload, and excessive ‘screen time’.The pilot programmes at Hazel Hill have been formally evaluated on several measures by Westminster Centre for Resilience, and showed statistically significant impacts. A summary of their evaluation is available.FACILITATORSThe partner organisations involved can draw on a wide range of facilitators: Immersions have at least two facilitators, one a medical professional, one from Hazel Hill, both with extensive experience of resilience programmes for the health sector. The hosting team for June is:David Peters: Trained as a GP, and has worked in a range of professional roles in the NHS. Founder and Director of the Westminster Centre for Resilience (WCR), now an Emeritus Professor.Alan Heeks: Many years’ experience in using ecosystems as a model for human resilience, and has created the Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness model. See Founder/Chair of Hazel Hill Trust. Julie Chinn: was in practice as a GP for many years: she now works in a non clinical role supporting fellow professionals. This includes being a Case Manager for the Wessex Deanery Professional support unit, helping trainees of across the specialties, teaching on the vocational training scheme, appraising fellow GPs as well as working as a coach and mentor. Jane Sanders: is a psychotherapist and group leader with a special interest in ecopsychology and deep ecology, with several years’ experience of leading resilience and wellbeing groups at Hazel Hill Wood.ABOUT HAZEL HILL WOODHazel Hill is a magical 70-acre wood, near Salisbury. It has simple, yet beautifully crafted off-grid wooden buildings with lovely indoor and outdoor group spaces, single or twin accommodation in bedrooms, good hot showers and compost loos, plus a sauna. See more at The wood is run by an educational charity whose aims are to promote wellbeing, resilience and sustainability through programmes at the wood for a wide variety of client groups. The food is outstanding!TIMINGSFrom 12.30pm Monday June 10 to 4.00pm Tuesday June 11. Group limited to ten participants: book soon to be sure of a place.COST AND BOOKINGThe total cost is £130 per person, including facilitation, accommodation, and food. Single room supplement £20.TO BOOKPlease contact Nicky Green for a booking form: or m: 07854 089 239FOR ENQUIRIES or MORE INFORMATION, CONTACTAlan Heeks, 07976 602787 To download a flyer click here.