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Angling offers the opportunity to escape the demands of a busy work and home life by surrounding yourself in nature and wildlife away from a world of technology. It provides an opportunity for our minds to rest and reset and can be a meditative pastime that often happens in places where the wonders of nature are very evident. Here's how to incorporate angling in mental health and wellbeing support activity.

Get Fishing for Wellbeing

About the Get Fishing for Wellbeing project

Welcome to ‘GET FISHING for WELLBEING’! Anyone who has been fishing will know how beneficial angling is at boosting mental health and wellbeing. Here you can find advice and links on how to start fishing and find mental health support near to you. There is also information for Health Service Professionals and Community Link Workers on what fishing can offer your projects and services. The video case studies and quotes from those who have benefited from angling, provide evidence of the help angling can provide, and how to link fishing in to the National Social Prescribing network.

As part of angling’s offer to mental health and wellbeing organisations, we will be showcasing how angling groups have partnered with us via our new ‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing – Approved Partner’ standard, and the toolkit of resources we can provide to organisations working in this space.

We hope that championing these organisations to local and national Health Service Professionals and Community Link Workers will provide consistent opportunities for angling to be prescribed as an activity which perfectly fits with many of the requirements that benefit people with mental health and wellbeing needs.

Angling has played a major part in my life and has substantially helped my mental health especially in recent years. I’m excited to be steering this project and coordinating my colleagues to help support as many people as possible with access to the amazing benefits of angling. I want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy all the natural benefits of spending time in nature next to water …and even catching the odd fish along the way!

Dean Asplin
Angling Development Manager (South)
dean.asplin@anglingtrust.net

Source: National Academy for Social Prescribing

What is Social Prescribing?

Many things can affect our health and wellbeing – finances, relationships, social environment, our health to name a few. For example, people may visit their GP because they may be feeling stressed about their work, money or because they are lonely and isolated. The impact that these issues can have on our physical and mental wellbeing has been particularly clear as the nation responds to Covid 19.

But, these problems cannot be fixed by medicine, or doctors, alone.

That’s where social prescribing comes in. Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.

It helps people get more control over their healthcare, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:

  • have one or more long-term condition,
  • need support with their mental health,
  • are lonely or isolated,
  • have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

Source: National Academy for Social Prescribing – www.socialprescribingacademy.org.uk

In Summary: Social prescribing links people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports and pastimes, including angling.

 

‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved Partner' angling health and wellbeing service providers

 
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Partners

The Angling Trust want to get behind your fantastic wellbeing initiatives, support and champion them to national and regional audiences

We communicate with medical practitioners and Community Link Workers we on a day-to-day basis. If you’re interested in becoming a ‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing – Approved’ partner, then please contact us.
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Get Hooked on Fishing

Fun, interactive training based on angling by young people to give participants confidence and show that there are alternative pathways and better opportunities.

We train and develop peer mentors and encourage young people to take part in how we run local schemes. We work with young people aged 6+ and have a track-record in delivering social inclusion, improvements in school attendance and achievement.
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iCARP

A programme, developed at Essex, is changing the lives of military veterans by helping them overcome the debilitating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Trauma specialist Mark Wheeler recognised a growing need to help those who were being failed by traditional mental health provision. In response he developed a support package which has so far helped over 100 veterans, with some amazing results.
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Fishwish

Established in 2009, Fishwish offers everything from 20 minute taster sessions and group bookings, to bespoke coaching packages and exclusive individual guiding services.

We cover all disciplines of angling and can provide everything needed, so that you can sit back and enjoy your fishing experience from either the bank, shore, boat or kayak. There is a style of angling to suit everyone - see website.
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Young Anglers

Young Anglers was established almost 10 years ago providing angling education opportunities predominantly within Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire.

All year-round coaching for all ages and experience levels. For schools, alternative learning providers and community coaching/junior matches. All programmes are delivered by Level 2 Angling Lead Coaches licensed by the Angling Trust.
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North West Angling Academy

High quality safe sport available for people with a range of impairments or conditions. Sessions are delivered in a way that enables maximum enjoyment and participation of adults at risk.

We work with schools, youth groups, community groups, specialist schools and colleges, NHS, mental health support groups and organisations, local authorities and individuals throughout Merseyside, West Lancs and the North West of England as a whole.
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The School of Fish

Fishing for Positive Mental Health with fishing lessons that are carefully considered and have proven benefits to mental health

There are a range of fishing lessons available to welcome people to fishing. The lessons are all focused on safe, successful and fun fishing that suit all ages.

Northampton Nenescape

Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme works along the Nene Valley in Northamptonshire and Peterborough to bring to life the landscape

Working in partnership with the Angling Trust Get Fishing Team and funded by the Environment Agency we run safe, friendly, fun and inclusive Canal & River Trust Let's Fish events

Reflections Angling

We are focussed on providing a safe, friendly environment for those with mental health issues - "Making Angling a Reality For All"

Reflection Angling is a community that's all about getting young people fishing. All abilities and all ages sharing skills and linking education to fishing and respect for each other.

Willowbank Education

We aim to engage children through Fishing and Forest Schools

We are a non-profit company established to provide education to children in an outdoor setting. Practicing Forest School and Fishing to engage, excite and challenge.

Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association

The largest angling club in Cumbria

Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association (WADAA Ltd) offering a wide variety of waters and facilities to both members and visitors alike.

Phoenix Heroes

PTSD Support - VCAC Veteran Carp Angling Club

We are a team of veterans, civilians, serving members of the Armed Forces and military spouses, supporting veterans and those that are still serving, including their families.

Keith Pope

Level 2 Angling Coach

Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved Partner

Ian Wilks

Level 2 Angling Coach

Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved Partner
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Tackling Minds

Tackling Minds aims to get people, from all walks of life, into fishing ...

Formed in early 2020, Tackling Minds has quickly become established as a trusted provider of angling events within the UK and offers support to people from all walks of life that are struggling with a range of issues
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Bradford Community Play & Development Service

Our angling sessions offer many benefits for mental health and wellbeing, including confidence building, skills development, co-ordination, conduct, behaviour, patience, concentration & resilience.

We can offer bespoke angling packages to organisations which will incorporate your specific priorities, with sessions suitable for children, young people and adults supporting a wide range of needs.
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Kingsbury Water Park

Country Parks has joined the initiative, aiming to get more people out and active in Warwickshire’s green spaces

Country Parks are working in partnership with The Angling Trust to ensure Warwickshire visitors and residents can try out fishing and look after their health and wellbeing
 

What people say

Fishing has positive outcomes!

 
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Truancy and Behaviour

Sarah Collins - Chief Executive, Get Hooked on Fishing

"Sam was 13 when his school referred him to us because he lacked confidence, had low self-esteem and was starting to truant and spend his days with young people involved in anti-social behaviour - now he coaches other young people on the scheme"
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Helps Anxiety

Event Participant

"After a close friend died suddenly last year from Covid-19 I started getting anxiety attacks. The doctor said to get out into nature and try meditation. It’s hard to explain but fishing feels like I do both at the same time and it really helps."
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Tangible Outcomes

A Home Office youth work initiative - Positive Futures

"Most Youth Service professionals who have encountered the Get Hooked on Fishing scheme have sensed something special about the project. There is an apparent synergy of vision, commitment, process and tangible outcomes."
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Mindfulness Toolkit

K Fields - Worcs

"Fishing has become part of my toolkit to supplement psychiatric medicine plus self-help like CBT, exercise and meditation. I recommend it to Community Mental Health Service practitioners as an effective, mindful activity."
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Confidence Boosting

Event Participant

"You’ll be pleased to hear I’m back fishing on my own. I did what you told me, and I feel much more confident now thanks. I’ve got two more friends who want to come next time – see you then!"
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Focus and Relaxation

Barry - W Mids

"After a road accident caused a brain injury and PTSD I have had problems with concentration and tiredness. Fishing helps me focus and keeps me alert but relaxed. It’s helped me escape a very dark place and be happy again."
 

‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved' partner videos

 

Angling Trust – watch Dean Asplin and Jimmy Willis from the Angling Trust explain how fishing is the perfect fit for social prescribing, and how this natural affinity between spending time next to water in blue-green spaces, and issues which fit with the social prescribing model can really help people and communities to gain benefits. This initiative attracted coverage from BBC’s The One Show and Jimmy

If I’m ever feeling worried or anxious I’ll go to the pond and fish…fishing helped with my anxiety…it’s therapeutic
Declan – Winner of BBC Uplifting Stories (11-15)
Watch Declan explain more about how fishing helped with mental health issues after a car crash in this video.

iCARP – a brilliant video explaining how a programme, developed at Essex, is changing the lives of military veterans by helping them overcome the debilitating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Get Hooked on Fishing – an angling charity which helps provide positive opportunities for young people and communities and one of the Angling Trust’s Key Delivery Partners. Get Hooked on Fishing  is a huge force in helping people from less-resourced communities, and those who do not fit with more conventional education programmes to seek solace for mental health and wellbeing, and behavioural or learning issues, via the restorative and life-changing benefits of simply going fishing. The charity delivers fun and interactive training around the sport of angling that is designed with the help of young people to give the participants more confidence and to demonstrate that there are alternative pathways and better opportunities available to them.

 

Funding Support

Get help with funding to include angling in your offer or become a coach

 

Is funding holding you back from getting involved?
We understand that it costs money to run introduction to Get Fishing events or to train to become an angling coach. We want to help support as many projects and coaches as we can to find how to fund events. Each year we enthusiastically help hundreds of organisations with direct funding, bursarys or to find funding that will pay for fishing projects and infrastructure. These include: fishing and other sport clubs, coaches, schools, charities, health organisations, youth groups and community outreach projects – please do contact us for more info – give us a call, drop us an email or connect on social media – we will do as much as we possibly can to get your project off the ground!

Regional Contact for your area:
Contact your Regional Angling Development Officer in the first instance for an insight to what may be available within your region: www.anglingtrust.net/getfishing/contact-us

Our range of funding offers:
We have a wealth of experience in sourcing relevant funding for sport development, including angling. The Angling Trust also manages various funding streams provided by the Environment Agency from fishing licence money, and from Sport England. You can also visit our funding support page for the most commonly available applications: www.anglingtrust.net/funding

Want to become an angling coach?
The Environment Agency also provides 50% coaching bursaries to support training of qualified and licenced coaches. This is rod licence income, reinvested back into angling to ensure professional standards around developing a lifelong fishing habit. Talk to your Regional Angling Development Officer for more info on our Coach Bursary programme, visit www.anglingtrust.net/get-involved/coaching and apply for a bursary from richard.hadley@anglingtrust.net.

Sport England, Tackling Inequalities Fund:
This fund is available to organisations who work with people with long term illness including mental health issues. It is aimed to initiate new programmes to reduce the existing inequality gap experienced by some communities, and which Covid-19 has widened. Funding applications can be discussed in the first instance with darren.birch@anglingtrust.net.

 

 

Other opportunities

Outdoors and angling related activities

 

One in four people will experience some form of mental health problem each year such as anxiety and depression. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused elevated levels of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Volunteering and spending time outdoors has been shown to benefit and maintain mental health and help to protect from some mental health problems. There are lots of ways that anglers can volunteer some of their time. Many of these opportunities involve being outdoors, or working to improve environments where fishing happens. Here are some of the ways you can take part in angling related activities which will also help to improve the environment – most often near to water and in surroundings that will really benefit from your help.

Invasive Non Native Species Action days:
Throughout the country there are a number of local action groups (LAGs) that actively get involved in managing invasive non native species. A list of action groups can be found here so if you are interested in a hands on day, where you can meet new people in your local area and help to restore our waterways then have a look for your local group.

Habitat Improvement and Conservation Days:
As well as invasive species management, there are plenty of other ways you can get involved in hands on work to help to protect and conserve local wildlife. Keep an eye out on environmental organisation pages such as the Wildlife Trust, Canal and River Trust and Marine Conservation Society.

Litter picking:
Litter picking is a great way of getting outside, meet new people and a form of exercise. As well as this, by removing litter from the bankside, beach or waterway you are helping to protect wildlife from harm. By taking part in a litter pick you are showing pride for your area, and will encourage others to take part too. Get in touch with your local fishing club or tackle shop to find out what opportunities are in your area.

Species Surveys:
Another great way to get involved in environmental work is through species surveys. There are loads of options available out there depending on your interests. For example, you could get involved in The Angler’s Riverfly Monitoring Initiative, keep an eye out for particular species, such as water voles or hedgehogs, report invasive non-native species.

Get Fishing | Litter Pick

Taking part in an angling litter pick is a great way to meet like-minded people!

 
 

Get Fishing TV

Watch our how to ‘Get Fishing’ videos

 

Visit our ‘Get Fishing TV’ YouTube channel for beginners content that is informative, fun and inclusive. Our “How-To” guides use basic angling terms and easy to follow instruction so that you will be able to go fishing on your own!

 

Where can I go fishing?

Use our interactive map to find essential information to help you get the most out of your fishing.

 

Search for fishing venues, river levels, tackle shops, clubs and coaches – near to your home or further afield. Remember, you must have a rod licence for freshwater fishing in England and Wales. You can buy a fishing licence online or get one in a post office or over the phone. You are welcome to come to an event on your own or bring friends, family or a care-worker with you, absolutely everyone is welcome regardless of age, ability or background and you don’t have to bring any equipment – everything you need to get into or return to angling is provided – including bait!

 

Before you go fishing...

What do I need to go fishing legally in England?

 

Before you go fishing in England there are some laws and rules that you need to be aware of – this includes the legal requirement to have bought a fishing licence before you start to go fishing. Here’s a short video explaining what you need to know…

 

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