DD Charity Blog

A place for us to highlight the great work of charitable groups we are supporting with donations of DD Hammocks Gear each month. We are proud to be working with community engagement programs, mental health charities and more to provide equipment and easy access to the great outdoors for those in need.

22 May 2022

DD Charity Update - May 2022

By Vikki

Summer is just around the corner and as the weather gets warmer and the days get even longer, there's no better time of year to get as many people as possible outside and enjoying the healing benefits of nature.

This month we have been able to partner with two organisations. Firstly the Curtis Palmer Program, a new initiative supported by Pilgrim Bandits to help those within the Police Family - primarily injured police members along with other members of the emergency and armed services; and secondly, Dose of Nature; an organisation dedicated to improve the mental wellbeing of those in need through engagement with the natural world. 

To find out more about these two great charities as well as the ways in which they help others, read on below!

The Curtis Palmer Program

Pilgrim Bandits Charity was established in 2007 with the sole aim of using their unique training and experience to help and inspire injured personnel to live life to the full - with The Curtis Palmer Program being a new initiative partner.

The CPP aim is to get staff back to work in a better place. National Police lead, Inspector Damien Isherwood from Thames Valley Police, has been working with Welfare departments, Blue light champions and local Police Federations to launch the “Curtis Palmer Program”.

The CPP combines expeditions, outdoor activities and outward bounds activities with free short Open University courses, emotional support and career support.

Damien explains more on the aims of the CPP:

"We believe that physical exercise and being in the outdoors will have a benefit to MH in all forms and increase the confidence, well-being and self-belief of students. That by being in a safe learning environment with officers going through similar issues the students are more likely to share coping mechanisms, connect and build supportive relationships. We aim to build students confidence by a series of developing physical activities that involve the 5 steps to mental wellbeing recommended by NHS England (perosnal connection, physical activity, learning new skills, giving to others, and being in the present). Where possible we will “buddy” students up and offer them mentors. We will engage, listen, support and encourage, our priority is the student’s safety and wellbeing."

The CPP ethos is to encourage growth from all angles, both pysical and mental, and so all referrals to the program are also given access/guidance to free Open University courses to support return to work and ongoing investment. The students are encouraged to enrol in these courses to improve their mental health, mindfulness, physical wellbeing and other skills such as time management. This ensures that all bases are covered and that every person who comes to the CPP is given assistance at each step of recovery for a safe and happy reintegration into the world of work or society as a whole.

PC Mitchell says of his experience with the Curtis Palmer Program during an active adventure weekend;

“It has been genuinely very positive experience for me and my road to recovery. With the CPP and your team’s support, I have been able to push myself both physically and mentally further than I’d ever have imagined. This has given me a renewed sense of confidence and self-belief that I had lost. I hope you will allow me to continue my journey with your charity over the coming months. Thank you again.”

To help support the efforts of Damien and the Curtis Palmer Program, we have donated several hammocks and tarps to assist on their next big adventure to help those in need; kayaking the fjords of Norway. We wish Damien and the crew all the best on their expedition into the wilds, and we hope that the kit is enjoyed by all!

For more about the Curtis Palmer Program, as well as how to access their support services, you can find out more information via their website and Facebook page.

Dose of Nature

Dose of Nature is a mental health charity whose purpose is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals through increased engagement with the natural world. Their work is rooted in a wealth of scientific evidence that demonstrates the physiological and psychological benefits of spending time in nature.

We caught up with Operations Manager Katie Fernie for more about the methods and ethos of Dose of Nature:

"We deliver ‘nature prescriptions’ to people referred by their GP with a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, trauma, and addiction. Through a combination of education, first-hand experience, and practical and motivational support, we encourage a greater connection with nature, and inspire lifestyle changes that have a significant and lasting impact on mental wellbeing. Our model is a positive, hopeful and outward-looking approach to mental health."

What is a Dose of Nature Prescription?

"Our 10-week Dose of Nature Prescription Programme is a genuine alternative to both medication and more traditional psychological interventions, and our recovery rates are significantly higher than those for comparable mental health interventions such as CBT (over 75% for a Dose of Nature prescription, compared with 33-50% for an equivalent NHS treatment).

As a result of our nature prescriptions, many clients reduce, and frequently cease, their medication, and report significant lifestyle changes such as returning to work or university, finding a job, doing voluntary work, or undertaking new training. Furthermore, with a focus on developing new habits, independent of the person delivering the 10-week programme, clients have a life-long resource in nature that is free, accessible, and unlimited."

What Dose of Nature Workshops are available?

"Alongside our individual nature prescriptions, we deliver well-being workshops, teaching the general population about the benefits of spending more time outside in natural spaces. Previous groups have included students, young parents, older adults, teachers, psychologists, refugees, victims of domestic abuse, carers, charity leaders, NHS workers and firefighters."

Do you work with Young People?

"At the beginning of this year, Dose of Nature launched their programme for young people and now offer their Dose of Nature Prescription to young people between the ages of 15 and 17, with group sessions beginning this summer."

We hope that our donation of DD Charity Edition hammocks and tarps are enjoyed by Dose of Nature and their clients, and that they can help those in need reconnect to the great outdoors! We hope to catch up with Katie and Co in the near future to find out more about how they've been getting on.

For more about Dose of Nature, as well as how to access their services and wellness programmes, you can find out more on their website or contact Katie Fernie on info@doseofnature.org.uk.

Do you know of a charity or group that focuses on the outdoors and helping those less fortunate enjoy the many positives of the natural world?

If you think they would benefit from some free sets of hammocks and tarps, plus a spot on the DD Charity Blog to showcase their work, services and successes, we want to hear from you!

Help us help others in need, and get involved by getting in touch with us via our DD Charity contact form.


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About the writer


A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.

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