'Healing' woods plan to remember Covid victims welcomed by community

Suffolk County Council is to create a new healing woods space in memory of those who died from Covid-19, and provide a...

Suffolk County Council is planning to create woodlands in memory of Covid victims - Credit: Archant

Proposals to create 'healing' woods in Suffolk in memory of coronavirus victims have been overwhelmingly backed by the community, a survey says.

Suffolk County Council is planning to create woodland areas in tribute to those lost in the pandemic, with sites to be identified later this year.

The council launched a survey on the plans last October, with the results finding more than 90% of respondents were in favour of the scheme.

Two-thirds of the 500-plus participants involved in the survey said their mental health and wellbeing had been negatively affected amid the pandemic.

The 'healing' woods project connects with the motion unanimously passed by the county’s councillors last week to commit to developing mental health support in Suffolk.

Suggestions for the locations of the woods are being sought and anyone with ideas is urged to contact the county council.

The authority said although the woods will be created in response to the pandemic, they are intended to leave "a long-lasting, positive legacy for communities".

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Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: "We’ve now had initial discussions with some potential sites, which could see the adopting of existing woodland and green spaces, or the creation of brand new sites.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection has urged people to take part in...

Cabinet member Richard Rout thanked the people who responded to the survey - Credit: Suffolk County Council

"Now that we have a better understanding of what is important to achieve, we would like to hear from more local communities about where healing woods and spaces could be located in their area.

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"I’m incredibly grateful to the 500-plus people who responded to the survey, and to organisations who want to be involved. They have really helped shape our thinking and developed the idea of improving everyone’s access to nature in Suffolk and the benefits that brings.

"Following the survey, it’s become apparent that giving people access to nature is what is important, and of course there are already many places where people can do this, and many organisations who help make that happen.

"So we are now working with these organisations to identify where best to establish healing woods and spaces, but also to understand why people may not feel that they can access nature, and resolve that."

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