A PROJECT designed to fight the isolation and loneliness caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have been announced today, after Morecambe Bay was awarded £880,000 in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Around 400 people experiencing poor mental health will be prescribed nature by GPs and other health care professionals.

People referred to the project will spend time surrounded by the natural beauty of Morecambe Bay, with growing evidence showing that more time in nature helps improve mental health.

Known as “The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery”, the initiative brings together Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the Eden Project and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

4 top Morecambe-Bay

4 top Morecambe-Bay

It has been funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and awarded as part of the Postcode Recovery Fund, which is designed to help communities recover from problems exacerbated by the pandemic.

Activities participants will take part in include guided walks to discover marine life, beach cleans and coastal art, enabling local people to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of the coastal environment while encouraging conservation of this internationally significant site, which is under threat from climate change.Stephen Trotter, CEO of Cumbria Wildlife Trust: “We're delighted to be part of this important partnership, tackling loneliness in the Bay area, while bringing people closer to the natural world.

"We recently asked people in Cumbria about nature and wildlife during lockdown and 88 per cent of them told us that being in nature helped them cope with the stress and restrictions caused by the pandemic over the past year.

Stephen Trotter at Cumbria Wildlife Trusts Bowness on Solway Nature Reserve

Stephen Trotter at Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Bowness on Solway Nature Reserve

"So we know that nature helps us. It's fantastic to be working with the exciting Eden North project to celebrate the nature wonders of the Bay area, and we look forward to helping more people than ever enjoy the wonderful natural environment of our stunning coast.”

Recognised as a Special Protection Area, Morecambe Bay is one of the most important areas for birds in all of Europe.

With over 250,000 birds flying in every year, there are more birds in north west England in winter than summer because so many overwinter at Morecambe Bay. The mudflats from Barrow to Fleetwood provide a vital feeding ground for the lapwing, curlew and redshanks.

Warton Crag, which overlooks the whole bay, is home to rare butterflies including the Pearl-bordered fritillary and the world’s fastest creature, the peregrine falcon.

The two-year project will recruit a team of 12 and offer six traineeships to young people and the long-term unemployed.