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
Welcome to the Get Fishing for Wellbeing project
Anyone who has been fishing will know how beneficial angling is at boosting mental health and wellbeing. On this page, you can find advice and links on how to start fishing and find a list of Angling Trust ‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing – Approved’ delivery partners local to you. We are championing these quality assured organisations to Health Service Professionals and Social Prescribing Link Workers so that consistently high-quality experiences and benefits of angling activity can be prescribed to people with mental health and wellbeing needs.
“Angling has played a major part in my life and has substantially helped my mental health. I’m excited to be steering this project and coordinating my colleagues to help support as many people as possible to access to the amazing benefits of angling. I want to encourage everyone 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)
If you are a Health Service Professional or Community Link Worker interested in providing angling for a patient please contact me direct – [email protected]
What is Social Prescribing?
Many things can affect our health and wellbeing – and sometimes these problems cannot be fixed just by medicine or visiting a doctor. That’s where social prescribing comes into play by connecting people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing Link Workers based in GP practices. In this way, social prescribing provides people with greater control over their healthcare in a way that suits them, and it can especially help people who:
- have one or more long-term conditions
- 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 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 is the Angling Trust’s campaign to get more people fishing more often. Each year we run hundreds of events for all ages and abilities. Get Fishing angling events are for anyone who wants to get into fishing, get back into angling or find out where to go fishing, who to go fishing with, what to use to start fishing and how to go fishing for the first time.
Get Hooked on Fishing – North
Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association…
Angle for the Community – Immingham…
Gilling West Fly Fishers – North…
Bradford Community Play & Development Service…
Go Fish! – Warwickshire
Active Angling North Staffordshire
Everybody Can Fish – East of…
UK Fishing School – East Anglia
Tackling Minds – Manchester
Northampton Nenescape – Northampton
MS Angling – Burnley
Off The Scale OE – Bolton…
Young Anglers – Nottingham
Dan Smedley – Cornwall
Reflections Angling – Dorking
Angling & Mental Health Initiative (AMHI)…
Willowbank Education- Canterbury
Kernow Coarse Fishery – Cornwall
Trail Blazers Education – Kent
Fishwish – South West
The School of Fish – Cornwall/Devon
Sportfish – Reading Berkshire
Godalming Angling Club – Surrey
Kingsbury Water Park – West Midlands
Get Hooked on Fishing – London
iCARP – Essex
Martyn Green – Devon
Mayfly Project UK – SOUTH
Cast A Thought – Various Counties
The Royalty Fishery – Christchurch Dorset…
Want to appear on this page?
We’d love to support you or your organisation to become a Get Fishing for Wellbeing Partner. Become part of the growing number of angling social prescribing providers and help highlight all the wellbeing benefits that fishing can bring to people with mental health needs. Please get in touch.
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 – We submitted a successful bid to Natural England to run 3 Get Fishing for Wellbeing Pilot Projects at Walthamstow Reservoir in London. The Project looks to improve people’s health and well-being by introducing them to angling, new friends and nature. It included the NHS 5 Ways of Well-being: Connect With Others, Be Physically Active, Learn a New Skill, Give to Others, and Pay Attention to the Present Moment. Participants now have the skills to go fishing and volunteer and mentor others to go fishing and improve their well-being too. Thanks to Thames Water, Shakespeare Fishing Tackle, The Environment Agency and Angling Direct who supported the day, and of course to Natural England for incorporating angling in their programme.
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 protected].
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 [email protected].
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…