Branching Out

Branching Out is a programme for adults who use mental health services in Scotland. For each client, the service consists of around three hours of activities per week in a woodland setting, over 12 weeks. It has been developed by the NHS and Forestry Commission (now Scottish Forestry), and is supported by both organisations still. See the Scottish Forestry page here

Activities are adapted to suit the client group, site and time of year, and generally include:

  • physical activity e.g. health walks and tai chi;
  • conservation activities e.g. rhododendron clearance and bird box construction;
  • bushcraft, e.g. fire lighting and shelter building; and
  • environmental art e.g. photography and willow sculptures.

On completion of the course there’s an awards ceremony where clients receive certificates of completion and achievement (e.g. The John Muir Award where applicable), and are signposted on to community-based leisure, volunteer and training opportunities.

We also encourage participants to engage in our Peer Mentoring scheme whereby they stay in touch and come out to assist on future Branching Out Programmes.

Each programme involved one session a week for 12 weeks, running 10:00 to 13:00 each week.

We will be offering programmes in 2024, in ElginĀ from Monday 1st April, and Nairn, from Tuesday 26th March.

Watch this space and our facebook page for more details.

If you or someone you know would like to sign up to these programmes, please email for more details.

With thanks to Scottish Forestry and to both the Moray Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and the Highland Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for funding these courses