AZUMI-Wellness: Nature Therapy Berkshire

Round & About

Berkshire

We at AZUMI-Wellness are very excited to offer nature therapy experiences in Berkshire, a county blessed with extraordinarily beautiful parks, woodlands and forests. We passionately believe that going outside in nature can help us to feel calmer, more relaxed and less stressed.

At AZUMI-Wellness we pride ourselves on helping people to feel better and we believe in tailoring experiences to our clients and not our clients to the experiences.

We know that modern life is fast paced, full of uncertainties and always changing. Our minds are busy, jumping from one task to the next with little time to stop and enjoy the stillness of our surroundings.

Nature therapy encourages us to slow down, breathe and reconnect with our environment and ourselves. The practice of nature therapy focuses on reconnecting with the natural environment through a series of invitations, encouraging participants to become aware of all the amazing smells, sounds, sights, tastes and textures that surround them; leading to an enhanced experience and a deeper embodied sense of relaxation.

Nature therapy is the practice of immersing yourself in nature, particularly forests, for better mental and physical health. This evidence-based practice began in Japan in the early 1980’s and is known in Japanese as, Shinrin Yoku.

Studies have proven that people who regularly participate in nature therapy also known as forest therapy benefit from: reductions in feelings of anxiety, stress, anger, tension, fatigue and depression. Additional benefits include: lowered blood pressure and heart rate, improved quality of sleep and concentration.

At AZUMI-Wellness we are experts in guiding our clients through an authentic Nature therapy experience – our 2 hour sessions are run by certified and accredited therapists who will guide you through a sensory experience you are unlikely to forget!

Our sessions are suitable for everyone and we are very happy to adapt to your specific needs.

Each session is about 2 hours in duration, we do not walk more than ¾ of a mile, we walk slowly and carefully, mindfully moving through sensory invitations and taking every opportunity to relax and reconnect.

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Mental Health Mates are offering support

Liz Nicholls

Berkshire

Abby Lacey set up Mental Health Mates – Reading after needing help herself, the support group helps anyone suffering as well as their family and friends

Founded in 2016 by author and journalist, Bryony Gordon, Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups, run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement.

In early 2019, being a fan of her writing and podcast, as well as suffering from anxiety for most of my life, I decided to check out Mental Health Mates. The nearest to me were about 20 miles in either direction, so after about five minutes of procrastination, I contacted them and offered to start my own group.

I know from experience that mental illness magnifies through isolation. I also know that being outside in nature is great for your mental health, so to incorporate walking and talking to someone, sharing with them or simply walking beside them – just connecting – is the first step to recovery.

In May 2019 I set up Mental Health Mates – Reading, organising bi-monthly weekend walks for people suffering from mental illnesses, along with their family and friends, in and around Reading.

We were lucky enough to have almost a year of walking together before the pandemic hit, but we’ve carried on walking when we can, and when we can’t, we meet bi-weekly through Zoom. The Zoom calls are a great way to check in, in a really informal environment. There is no structure to our calls – we chat about everything from TV to politics, from fashion to medication – we cover it all! There is never an expectation to talk and if you don’t want the camera on, that’s fine too.

We have built a great community of like-minded people, and we have visitors on the calls from all over the country as I, along with other walk leaders, actively advertise that all are welcome.

When we are able to get together, our accessible walks are as gentle or as brisk as the group would like, so we cater for everyone, covering about two miles over an hour.

We are truly spoilt for choice for locations in the area from beautiful lakes such as Dinton Pastures and Whiteknights Lake at the University of Reading, to the River Thames at Caversham. We’re hoping to expand our offering to west Reading too in the early summer too, so we can reach even more people.

If you would like to join Mental Health Mates – Reading please visit facebook.com/mhm.reading
Or for more information on support, visit mentalhealthmates.co.uk/support/


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Charity champions 

Round & About

Berkshire

Photo: Winners, judges and sponsors of the LBCA Berks 2019

Berkshire businesses have been rewarded for their work to support local charities at the Local Business Charity Awards (Berkshire).

The winners were revealed at a ceremony held at SportsAble in Maidenhead with three awards handed out – the Jelf Award, the A-Plan Insurance Award and the Individual Award.

To enter,  Berkshire charities had to nominate a Berkshire business or individual who had done an outstanding job supporting them.

The finalists in the Jelf Award were Convatec nominated by Berkshire Youth; Gardner Leader nominated by Swings & Smiles; Nationwide Building Society nominated by The Dash Charity and Penguins Events nominated by Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Services which won the Jelf Award.

Mike Owen, CEO South, Jelf, said: “Penguins Events have been the most incredible supporter of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice. Their expertise in events management, providing audio visual and lighting at the charity’s annual balls and other special occasions, has allowed the charity to put on first-class events and raise significant amounts of money.”

The finalists in the A-Plan Insurance award were A Twist of Lime nominated by Baby Bank; Bisham Abbey Sailing & Navigation School nominated by Rivertime Boat Trust; The Swift Group nominated by Newbury Soup Kitchen and TSB (Reading Branch) nominated by Babies in Buscot Support (BIBS). The Reading branch of TSB picked up the A-Plan Insurance Award

Richard Easterbrook, Group Head of Commercial Insurance from sponsor A-Plan Insurance said: “For a business to take on a charity with which they have no personal relationship is quite rare and makes the efforts made by the small team of staff from the TSB in Reading even more impressive.
“From bike and bake weeks to promoting awareness of the charity’s work by having an incubator on display in the branch, the team have really put their heart and souls into supporting this vital Berkshire charity.”

The finalists in the Individual award were Adrian Smith from The Swift Group nominated by Newbury Soup Kitchen; Carol Irwin from Sainsburys nominated by PALS (West Berkshire); Ken Navin from Innovate Services nominated by Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Services and Lisa Chaffey from Action Coach Reading nominated by Berkshire Vision.

The Individual Award was won by Adrian Smith.

Jeffrey Branch, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire, who presented the award said:
“Two years ago Meryll Praill set up Newbury Soup Kitchen without any knowledge or experience of homelessness or the myriad of problems that leads to a person losing their home. The day she met Adrian Swift, Managing Director of the Swift Group was highly fortuitous; from the outset he has offered her guidance, support, introductions to relevant businesses and even the donation of a van to deliver the food to the homeless.  Berkshire is a better place because of men like Adrian.”

For more information about this year’s awards visit

Health clinic

Karen Neville

Berkshire

A new child health clinic has opened in Reading offering integrated services for families and children under five. 

Weekly well-baby clinics will be held, including advice sessions with the health visiting team, a self-weigh drop in service and  regular health checks by appointment. More services are planned to follow at the old Salvation Army building at the Castle Hill roundabout.

The health visiting service offers a universal programme to all families from ante-natal through to when the child reaches school age including assessments during the first 30 months of a child’s life.

Drop in well-baby clinics are also offered to families with children under five to receive support and advice on child health, growth and development.

The new central clinic in Anstey Road has been created as part of a wider review of the health visiting service across Reading.

Further changes are also planned for Southcote Community Hub, Sun Street Youth and Community Centre, Ranikhet Children’s Centre and Whitley Health Centre, Caversham Children’s Centre and Battle Library – check locally with those.

A duty health visitor telephone/email advice line will operate Monday to Friday. View the button below for a link to online resources.

Lead councillor for health, wellbeing and sport, Cllr Graeme Hoskin said: “The new Salvation Army child health centre will offer Well Baby Clinics alongside a host of other advice and support services for families in a convenient central Reading location.

“The review of the Health Visiting Service has focused on making the best use of limited resources and ensuring that those who need the service most have easy access to clinics either by foot or by public transport.

“The mandated five baby health checks will continue to be held in all our centres and the popular Duty Health Visitor phone line and email will also be available to families as well as support and advice on the Berkshire Healthcare website.”