Mark Smedley, who launched M S Angling and Education in 2017, is appealing for support for the fund raiser for a log cabin to be built next to the fishing lake at Cornfield Fisheries in Burnley where he runs the project.
The cabin would be a warm and dry base that could be used for all educational and well-being sessions and also a classroom and learning environment for schools, community groups and adult learning sessions. There would also be toilets, a cafe and storage space.
Mark said: "The fund raising has come about thanks to the fantastic exposure from the Burnley Express for the project."
With a lifelong passion for the sport, Mark (42) is a qualified angling coach and teacher and has been delivering angling sessions since 2017 with the aim of promoting positive health and well-being, happiness and opportunity for all ages and abilities.
Whilst delivering angling sessions to schools, other groups and organisations started to contact him about the scheme and MS Angling and Education has delivered sessions to a vast range of organisations providing additional opportunities – team building, support groups, wellbeing/mindfulness sessions, fishing therapy sessions, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, birthday parties, one to one sessions, holiday clubs, days out, sessions for those in alternative provision and those completing accredited angling awards.
Mark, who lives in Harle Syke and is a former pupil at St. James Lanehead Primary School works with local GP’s and Social Prescribing Teams from East Lancashire, providing fishing therapy sessions to those referred.
Mark delivered a pilot scheme to The Mens' Den in Colne (a peer support group that supports men with mental health, addiction, or any other issues causing anxiety and stress) with funding support from Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Community Voluntary Services (BPRCVS), the Angling Trust, East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group and Sport England.
Other organisations he has worked with include Active Lancashire, Together an Active Pendle and East Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. Mark is also working with Mens' Den founder Nick Alderson to set up sessions for individuals who may have been sectioned and are being supported one to one.
The ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ and ‘Feel Good Friday’ fishing sessions for schools have proved to be hugely successful, providing opportunities for children that may never have had the chance to go fishing, for whatever reason, as well as give them a bit of headspace.
Mark has a selection of rewards for anyone who pledges their support to the campaign including BFC match tickets, team building days/group fishing sessions, day tickets for the fisheries, and hair cuts for men and women at local salons.
The health benefits of fishing are vast, from the physical aspect of walking with your equipment to the ideal spot, right through to the mental health aspect of self-achievement, giving our minds a sense of joy and the respite from the demands of modern-day life. Fishing is also an opportunity to take time out from the world of uncertainty.
If you would like to make a donation to the cabin project please click HERE