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Building for the future? What about nature? Psychotherapist, David Kraft, talks about the importance of nature to mental well being

In a December issue of the Enfield Dispatch (No. 15), James Cracknell spoke of a public fear that one of the best known golf clubs in the local area would be destroyed and turned into another commercial enterprise. This time it is Whitewebbs. In the spring of last year, the council reported that they intended to lease the golf course to a private source in order to cover costs. Whitewebbs is a 42-hectare golf course just under 2 miles from the centre of Enfield Town and just off the M25. We have learned recently, from Enfield Dispatch, that a further 55 hectares were included in the bids. Some local golfers are distraught about this news because they have recently learnt that some enterprises intend to close the golf club, which has been open for some 87 years. Some bidders have suggested turning it into a leisure complex. Other ideas include an outdoor gym and a biking facility. This problem is not just one for the golfers. The additional adjacent land might also been destroyed in the process. This land is part of a suite of Green Belt which runs from the Forty Hill Estate to Hilly Fields. Residents from Enfield, Cheshunt, Forty Hill and other surrounding areas enjoy the land for recreation. Indeed, this land has been enjoyed by local residents for over a hundred years.

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Nature and enjoying the local surroundings are topics which often come up in my work as a psychotherapist. In fact, it has been well documented that spending time in the countryside, growing produce and enjoying green spaces can improve mental wellbeing, increase confidence, reduce stress, increase relaxation and improve overall mental health. Those who suffer from depression, for instance, often benefit from going on long walks: indeed, I often advise clients to walk their dogs or go out on their own to experience some peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of town life. This is an essential part of psychological rehabilitation. Whether you are doing CBT, psychotherapy or are seeing a psychologist, it is important to add this element to the work that you do in the consulting room. And, particularly in busy towns, and Enfield is by no means an exception, people need to experience the calmness and serenity of open spaces. This is why places like Whitewebbs and the adjacent lands are so important to the local community. Let us hope that some of this land is left for people to enjoy in the future.

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