Erlegh Elders: Connecting with Art and Nature in good company

Too many elderly people live in social isolation without a meaningful connection with the outdoor world or to each other, damaging their mental and physical health. With nature just around the corner for many, vulnerable groups like this should have an opportunity to easily connect with each other and benefit from the sense of community and wellbeing that comes from a mutual participation with nature.

Thanks to the generosity of The Earley Charity and in collaboration with the Earley Environmental Group we invited an older generation in Reading to discover the Maiden Erlegh Nature reserve right at their doorsteps. The reserve has a wonderful mix of ancient and secondary woodland, with a large established pond and wetland area supporting a vast range of wildlife including hundreds of butterflies and moths and many varieties of birds, fungi and trees.

Together, we offered the older community free, accessible, weekly opportunities to engage in this natural environment whilst building a sense of community. Through nature-inspired art, lakeside walks, birdwatching and delicious homemade cake, we helped to combat loneliness for the elderly community.

I really look forward to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere every Thursday. I sometimes bring my husband for walks around the reserve now too.

Gill told us that she didn’t know the reserve was on her doorstep prior to joining the group.
Watercolour painting on leaves

Attendees are welcomed to the indoor cosy 'Interpretation Centre' beside the lake and we introduce the craft activity, such as watercolour painting on leaves or making seasonal decorations.