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Get Fishing Fund – Funded Project: Angling and Mental Health Initiative – fishing, mental health and wellbeing

The Angling and Mental Health Initiative (AHMI), in partnership with the Angling Trust and their Get Fishing campaign, has significantly boosted junior, adult and family memberships in local angling clubs since its formation three years ago.

Over this period, working with Haywards Heath and District Angling Society, AMHI have achieved some great results in helping newcomer anglers discover the wonders of angling. Junior membership of the club and the sale of family fishing tickets have increased and there has been an uptick in other membership categories too. In 2022 – 173 Get Fishing Awards were made to individual event attendees  (11 Bronze, 41 Silver and 24 Gold). By 2023 this had grown to 367 Get Fishing Awards (238 Bronze, 92 Silver and 41 Gold) – an overall increase of over 112% in just one year!

All of these people received a baseline foundation level of angling instruction via an achievable, fun, safe and responsible way to experience the unforgettable excitement of catching their first fish at the Bronze Level, right through to becoming a more experienced angler who is able to set up tackle, safely return their own fish and have the correct Environment Agency rod fishing licence with the Gold Award.

As well as the growth in people fishing with the club, local fishing tackle shops have seen an increase in new anglers, there have been a rise in day-ticket sales at fisheries, and this has led to support for the initiative in other areas of the surrounding community, including a nomination for a local Community Project of the Year Award in the Mid Sussex Applauds Community Project of the Year Award.

AMHI also helped represent the role of angling and wellbeing, by appearing in the recent Environment Agency and Defra fishing licence campaign. This included a video with Harry Clark the winner of the BBC The Traitors gameshow series, speaking about the positive influence that fishing has for his and many other people’s mental health.

Because AMHI fishing events, cater to everyone, from all walks of life, and have introduced many young people and families to the joys of fishing, local awareness of AMHI has grown immensely and in fact, Angling and Mental Health Initiative  will be working with most of the area’s schools, educational facilities and NHS Social Prescribing network this coming year. The social prescribers who work with GPs and other healthcare professionals, local to the project, are now incorporating AMHI’s angling services in their toolkit of support services that can contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of patient referrals.

Thanks to the generous support from the Get Fishing Fund and their Angling Trust Regional Angling Development Officer, AMHI have been able to expand their programs, making fishing accessible to more families and individuals, and encourage a new generation of anglers. The Get Fishing fund has enabled AMHI to improve their services every year, allowing them to engage with hundreds of people. AHMI are also Get Fishing for Wellbeing Approved Operators and partners with the Angling Trust, working in partnership along with many local companies to improve local community outreach.  You can see their social media @Lets_go_Fishing_AMHI

The Get Fishing Fund has invested nearly £200,000 of fishing licence money to help get more people into fishing over the past year. You can find information on the latest round of the Get Fishing Fund here, or please contact James Roche on [email protected]. Want to learn how to fish or where to take your family fishing? Contact your Regional Angling Development Officer and they will put you in touch with your local fishing coach or let you know about your closest Environment Agency funded ‘Get Fishing‘ events.

What is the Get Fishing Fund?

The Get Fishing Fund has invested nearly £200,000 of fishing licence money to help get more people into fishing over the past year. The fund is provided by the Environment Agency and administered by the Angling Trust. The Environment Agency supports angling-based projects with grants of up to £2,500 to help purchase equipment, fishing tackle, resources and run fishing activities that give people the opportunity to get into fishing for the first time.

About Get Fishing

Get Fishing is the Angling Trust campaign to grow participation in angling and get more people fishing more often. Annually, the Get Fishing campaign introduces over 30,000 people to angling at hundreds of fun, safe and friendly events funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Angling Trust, and Sport England. Children under 13 do not need a fishing licence, and fishing licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free but you still need to register and receive a licence before you start fishing. You can get a fishing licence for the full year, for 8 days (ideal for holidays!) or just a day’s fishing.

The Angling Trust’s ‘Get Fishing’ campaign is proudly supported by Shakespeare, Exclusive Tackle Partner and Angling Direct, Exclusive Retail Partner as we all work towards getting more people fishing, more often.

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