A new community group is bringing people closer to nature in Chippenham.

One of the aims of the Chippenham Collective charity is to encourage people with mental or physical health challenges, neurodiverse conditions or social anxiety to get involved in conservation projects.

The group is working on a patch of land owned by the Chippenham Borough Lands charity at Westmead Open Space.

It holds regular sessions there to clear brambles and encourage biodiversity, as well as weekly gardening activities and citizen science projects.

Its aim is to be what it calls ‘pressure-free’, so that people can work together with others in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Anyone can join the group, but it has a focus on people under the age of 40, and is now beginning to get referrals from the NHS’s social prescribing scheme.

Chair of trustees, social worker Emily Weston said: “We want to be kind and friendly. We want to make people feel more confident about going out and about.”

Fellow co-founder George Holliday lives with autism and is the group’s biodiversity expert, with an MSc in entomology – the study of insects.

As he talks about the group at Westmead, he points out passing sparrowhawks and blue tits overhead.

“It’s an ideal area for habitats. Part of the excitement is knowing what’s around us, and working with other people helps you learn with less pressure.”

Another founder member is Jess Purton, a DJ who has worked as a carer, and who has epilepsy.

“People have told us that getting involved means they don’t feel quite so lonely any more,” she said.

Both George and Jess have taken part in conservation training run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s wellbeing programme.

The Chippenham group aims to help people follow the NHS’s Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing: being physically active, connecting with people, learning something new, giving to others and being present in the moment.

It is now looking for volunteers who can help support the group’s activities.

To find out more, visit www.chippenhamcollective.co.uk