Take Root


Take Root

Photo by Helena Dolby for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

What is Take Root?

With thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and HM Government, Kent Wildlife Trust is delighted to launch the Take Root project.

Take Root is a two-year project running until December 2020. The project is a social prescribing initiative, helping people to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them to their community and with nature, by taking part in conservation-based programmes, walks and workshops.

Gardening for wildlife smelling flowers, photo by Tom Marshall

Photo by Tom Marshall

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services, such as local charities or groups, as opposed to clinical services. We will be working with project partners West Kent Mind, Involve Kent and One You at Sevenoaks District Council, who will signpost and refer individuals to Take Root.

Nature is good for you

The natural world has an impact on individual wellbeing – from flood prevention, clean air and water to having a peaceful natural space to be active. A connection with nature can have a significant positive impact including a reduction in stress and anxiety; increased positive mood, self- esteem and resilience; and increased feelings of social inclusion.

People with easy access to nature are three times more likely to be active, and 40% less likely to become overweight, which in turn can reduce the risk of other diseases and illnesses such as diabetes and some cancers. Taking notice of nature can encourage us to be more mindful and aware.  Incorporating the five ways to wellbeing (Connect, Take Notice, Be Active, Learn and Give) into your life can lead to improved health and wellbeing…a Wilder Wellbeing.

Woodland Walk - © Zsuzsanna Bird

Woodland Walk - © Zsuzsanna Bird

Loneliness can be a contributing factor to a decrease in health and wellbeing. There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK, which can go 5 or 6 days without seeing anyone (Age UK). In some parts of Sevenoaks, there is a high or very high risk of loneliness, according to the Age UK loneliness map. Take Root will give an opportunity to meet new people and connect with nature – both proven to improve health and wellbeing.

Want to get involved?

This project is all about social prescribing, so to get involved you must fill out our referral form.

If you are not connected with any of the partner organisations and would like to get involved with the project, you can refer yourself to the project by downloading and returning the form below to Vicky.Aitkenhead@kentwildlife.org.uk.

Vicky and Kirsty can’t wait to meet you all!

The Programmes

You can take a look at the programmes and activities for the project by clicking the expandable links below.

Project Programme 2020

Each programme is made up of 6 weekly sessions. Wednesday morning, 10am – 12pm. Meet at Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, TN13 3DH – free car park. Please wear sensible clothing as we will be outdoors as much as possible.


Programme One: Noticing Nature and Mindfulness
8th January – 12th February

We’ll start with a gentle
introduction to the new year & project. Observing the true beauty of nature. This will include wildlife watching, listening exercises, alongside mindfulness and relaxation techniques you can take home with you


Programme Two: Create
26th February – 1st April

Each of our sessions will be devoted to a creative theme, exploring nature through photography, sound recording, sketching, poetry and printing.


Programme Three: Garden and Grow
22nd April– 27th May

We will be working in the wildlife-friendly
gardens of the reserve. You’ll learn how you can attract wildlife to the garden, using pollinator friendly plants, shelters and feeders. There will be a practical element to this programme, giving the opportunity for some hands-on learning!


Programme Four: Monitoring
17th June – 22nd July

Each week we’ll monitor a different aspect of the reserve; from butterflies to birds, flowers to bugs. It’s a great way to learn how to ID species and understand how nature is connected. There’ll also be some time for pond dipping!


Programme Five: Self-direction
12th August – 16th September

Our self-led programme will run alongside themes in nature. We’ll be working as a team with some of our participants leading the way.  


Programme Six: Warden Wellness
7th October - 11th November

In our practical programme we’ll be getting involved with managing habitats. We’ll be scrub cutting, to improve and protect the rare lichen and moss communities. You can do as little or as much of the physical work as you like, and tools will be provided.


Walks and Coffee Mornings 2020

Meet at Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, TN13 3DH – free car park. Please wear sensible clothing as we will be outdoors as much as possible.

Noticing Nature Walks

These walks take a comfortable pace, allowing us to notice our surroundings, and truly admire the beauty of nature. We’ll be listening to natural sounds, watching the wildlife, and maybe even stop to do some sketching.

19th February, 15th April, 10th June, 5th August, 30th September, 25th November.


Coffee Mornings

Join your fellow Take Root-ers for a drink and a chat– or perhaps even in the wildlife garden if the weather is kind! A range of hot or cold drinks and snacks are available to buy from the visitor centre, or we’ll take out our kettle and have it in the woods.

8th April, 3rd June, 29th July, 23th September, 18th November.

The People

Get to know the team behind the project.

Vicky Aitkenhead – Nature and Wellbeing Officer and Take Root Project Manager

Vicky Aitkenhead

Vicky Aitkenhead

I’ve been with Kent Wildlife Trust for 4 years now, joining as a warden, before moving into the Nature and Wellbeing role in July 2018.

Whilst a warden in Ashford, I was the Older and Out There Project Officer, working with groups with additional access requirements to engage with nature, resulting in Kent Wildlife Trust winning the Kent Dementia Friendly Award – I loved this project and particularly doing the wildlife gardening workshops with people with dementia.

I am Mental Health First Aid trained, and the mental health champion at the Trust. I have a keen interest in birds and moths, and am looking forward to sharing this with you all!

Kirsty Lee – Take Root Project Officer

Kirsty Lee – Take Root Project Officer

I began my journey at Kent Wildlife Trust as a voluntary trainee warden, then progressing to a contract warden. I have experience as an Education Tutor, volunteered with the NHS on the Open Dialogue programme and am trained as a Holistic Therapist. I love butterflies and am great at IDing them!

Take Root funder logos - National Lottery Community Fund & HM Government