Andy Headshot

About Andy

Ecotherapist & Photographer

Looking back over the past few decades I can see various threads that have come together to bring me to this place. Here are some of those threads.

I was appointed as Psychologist Specialising in Ecotherapy to the North East London Foundation Trust in October 2009 and worked with the Trust until June 2011 when the post was axed as part of the NHS cuts. The work involved five main objectives: to run ecotherapy activities in nature for mental health service users; to mentor others who are working for the Trust and who want to use ecotherapy in their work; to collaborate on externally validated research and evaluation with a university; to run training workshops and longer programmes on ecotherapy; and lastly to disseminate the results of our work to a wider audience. In that short time we ran some interesting and successful programmes.

Between 2004 and March 2007 I was theTHERAPI Project Manager at Thames Chase Community Forest where I managed eleven projects to do with the relationship between people’s health and the green environment. Costing over half a million pounds it was funded by the Countryside Agency, local authorities and PCTs. The Forestry Commission used THERAPI as one of their national champion case studies of what can be done for improving health through by using the green environment, cf their web site:http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fce-external-therapi-final-edit-june-07-ver-01.pdf/$FILE/fce-external-therapi-final-edit-june-07-ver-01.pdf

I have been an advisor to Countryside Agency and Natural England, and was funded to create a forum for senior managers in Thames Gateway who are working strategically to integrate the development of health, environment and planning to ensure multifunctional gains. As part of this contract I also organised a regional conference in London on this theme in 2006, the key speaker was Chris Baines.

I produced a research review and policy report for the National Community Forests on the health and green environment agendaand lead a conference on this theme in Sheffield early 2007.

I am trained in leading conservation groups and in winter 2006-7 I ran my first successful Green Gym type programme (called Fit n’ Green) for long term mental health service users in Havering, funded by Capital Volunteering and aimed at engaging service users in mainstream conservation volunteering.

I have been a conference speaker on Ecotherapy on various occasions, for example at UWE in Bristol in February 2007 for the Healthy Communities Research Forum and at the Mind Conference on Ecotherapy in 2008.

I worked for some time as a psychology lecturer and freelance management development consultant in communications and conflict resolution.

I am trained in counselling and group facilitation.

I first learnt to meditate in 1970.

I have also worked as a consultant supporting organisations managing change to sustainable business, and lectured at Brunel University on sustainable development.

I co-lead my first three day ecotherapyworkshop in 1992 at the University of Surrey for trainee therapists and facilitators.

I have lead ecotour holidays to many countries including France and Bulgaria.

In 1986 Jonathan Cape published the first photographic guide to dragonflies under my authorship. I have subsequently contributed to other field guides on dragonflies and was president of the British Dragonfly Society for 8 years where I fundraised for their first full time officer and was made an honorary member for my contributions to the Society.

I am one of the four founders of the Ancient Yew Group www.ancient-yew.org and have had national and regional photographic exhibitions on ancient yews.