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!“
Angling Development Manager (South)
The Get Fishing for Wellbeing project is for everyone who can benefit from involving recreational fishing (also called angling) in the way that they manage conditions that benefit from a “Social Prescribing” approach to healthcare. For that reason, we have loosely arranged the content and resources that you can find on Get Fishing for Wellbeing into three types – there’s considerable overlap as we know that health workers such as Community Link Workers will want to explore the end-user offer too, and facilities will want to learn more about why they can be part of the growing social prescribing movement.
On this page you will find:
1] Info for Link Workers & Health Professionals
We want you to be able to understand why fishing has been described as “the perfect remedy” for those experiencing the negative effects of illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as well as societal conditions including loneliness and low-activity.
Fishing already has service providers with expertise in many areas which fit the social prescribing model and we encourage you to download and share a new leaflet that explains the benefits of angling or get free printed copies to distribute – thank you!
You can also find information on funding your own angling service from a variety of sources including the opportunities we manage on behalf of the Environment Agency and Sport England. who fund some of the Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved Partners. We are adding Approved Partners to the page all the time so please check back regularly or contact your local Regional Angling Development Officer for info on angling opportunities such as the hundreds of free beginner fishing events we run for newcomer and returner anglers.
Finally, we hope that you will please direct your social prescribing clients to this page so that they can explore the resources available – fishing really can make a huge difference to those in need of support.
2] Info for prospective healthcare users/existing anglers
Get Fishing for Wellbeing is the Angling Trust’s Resource-Hub for people looking to connect with less conventional ways of relieving long-term health and wellbeing conditions or who are in need of support with their mental health, are lonely or isolated or have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
To access some of the benefits that fishing has a proven track-record in helping with, you may need to get assistance from a Health Service Professional or Community Link Worker and ask about Social Prescribing. You might need to explain to them that fishing fits the social prescribing model really well – please direct them to this page for more information, including how we can help with funding. Perhaps the best place to start though is with the summary of angling health and wellbeing benefits in our Get Fishing for Wellbeing leaflet.
There are also useful Get Fishing beginner fishing videos to help you get into angling and explain about why you need an Environment Agency fishing licence before you go fishing on your own. It’s quick and easy to get a fishing licence – every angler needs one to fish in freshwater like rivers lakes and canals and all the money raised goes back into protecting and improving fishing and the environment we all go fishing in.
There are some words of encouragement here too which should help persuade you to take part in fishing as a fun, safe and friendly activity that will get you active outdoors, and which you can do on your own, with a licenced angling coach, a group of friends or a even a fishing club – find these on our Get Fishing map.
You might want to check out our Get Fishing events for beginners and returner anglers – come to an event near to you and there’s no need to bring any tackle or bait – you can just turn up and fish! We even include a free fishing licence for newcomers at these events.
Please give fishing a go – it can be a brilliant way to get relief from even the most persistent conditions, and the difference to health and wellbeing is often noticeable after even the first session.
3] Info for fisheries, lakes, clubs, coaches and other orgs
We want to promote and work with any organisation or individual that is already part of angling’s Social Prescribing Community, or that wants help to become recognised as a provider of angling opportunities for those in need of health support. The reason for this is our commitment to rapidly growing angling’s outreach into networks where it can address the kind of health and wellbeing issues that the simple act of going fishing corresponds to so very well.
We believe that everyone can benefit in some way from spending time outdoors, in blue-green spaces next to our nation’s fantastic waterways – the evidence backs this up too! Angling has proven itself to be a great remedy for many health conditions and is often the only form of exercise that some people are able to take part in – especially those with chronic health issues.
Becoming a ‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing – Approved Partner’ is simple and in some cases, depending on availability we can even offer or help you to find funding required to carry out any of the necessities that being a recognised provider of social prescribing requires.
The first thing to do is check out our Safer Operator Sheet and Operator Assurance Process – they are available on this page – complete them and return them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t answer “yes” to all of the requirements, don’t worry – we will help you at every step on the way.
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.
The Angling Trust want to get behind your fantastic wellbeing initiatives, support and champion them to national and regional audiences
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.
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).
Established in 2009, Fishwish offers everything from 20 minute taster sessions and group bookings, to bespoke coaching packages and exclusive individual guiding services.
Young Anglers was established almost 10 years ago providing angling education opportunities predominantly within Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire.
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.
The School of Fish
Fishing for Positive Mental Health with fishing lessons that are carefully considered and have proven benefits to mental health
Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme works along the Nene Valley in Northamptonshire and Peterborough to bring to life the landscape
We are focussed on providing a safe, friendly environment for those with mental health issues - "Making Angling a Reality For All"
We aim to engage children through Fishing and Forest Schools
Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association
The largest angling club in Cumbria
PTSD Support - VCAC Veteran Carp Angling Club
Level 2 Angling Coach
Level 2 Angling Coach
Tackling Minds aims to get people, from all walks of life, into fishing ...
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.
Kingsbury Water Park
Country Parks has joined the initiative, aiming to get more people out and active in Warwickshire’s green spaces
Truancy and Behaviour
Sarah Collins - Chief Executive, Get Hooked on Fishing
A Home Office youth work initiative - Positive Futures
K Fields - Worcs
Focus and Relaxation
Barry - W Mids
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
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.
Taking part in an angling litter pick is a great way to meet like-minded people!
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!
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 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…