The commercial property team at Farleys Solicitors has assisted a Burnley-based ‘Educational and Wellbeing Angling Project’ with the lease of land to build a lakeside cabin and expand its offering to Primary and Secondary Schools, Community Groups, NHS ‘Fishing Therapy’ referrals, the local community, and beyond.
MS Angling and Education was founded in 2017 by Mark Smedley, who was then a full-time Primary School Teacher. At the time, MS Angling and Education offered education and wellbeing sessions to children; promoting positive health, happiness and wellbeing. Mark and his team endeavoured to provide further opportunities to educational and community groups through fishing, promoting the many health and wellbeing benefits that fishing brings.
The educational sessions for schools were soon accompanied by the organisation offering ‘Fishing Therapy’ sessions for adults, working closely with the NHS, the Angling Trust, Sport England, and Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service. Mark now has a fantastic team of experienced licenced angling coaches, volunteers, and various staff members supporting the delivery of the range of sessions they offer.
Farleys commercial property team, led by Partner Stephen Greenwood, offered their services pro bono to fully support the project after hearing about MS Angling and Education’s appeal for support to build a cabin which would provide a warm, dry, comfortable base, in tranquil surroundings, to run their sessions and services from.
The ‘Educational Lakeside Cabin’ is set to include a ‘classroom style’ layout, fully accessible toilets, facilities for providing refreshments to all participants, and storage space. The cabin will be a fantastic addition to the setup at MS Angling and Education; supporting the project’s delivery of: one-to-one and group educational sessions, holiday clubs, school sessions, as well as provide additional opportunities for junior anglers and all ‘Fishing Therapy’ sessions. The cabin will be situated in a central location within the fishery grounds providing a therapeutic location for all those attending MS Angling and Education sessions.
A recent study by three British Universities found anglers are 17% less likely to experience anxiety and depression – the more they fished, the greater the impact. The study also found that fishing helps to improve concentration, social skills, self-esteem, resilience, patience and improve mood, whilst fishing in the great outdoors. The link between fishing and better mental health has been established so firmly, angling is now being offered nationally by the NHS. Fishing provides a wide range of mental, physical and social health benefits, providing a time for some head space and mindfulness away from the stresses of everyday life, not to mention the sense of self-achievement when you secure a catch.
Mark Smedley commented: “A huge thankyou to Stephen and the team at Farleys Solicitors for fully supporting our recent land lease agreement for the ‘Lakeside Cabin’ Project at Cornfield Farm Fishery, Burnley. We have been delivering our fishing sessions lakeside since 2017, all year round, in all weathers. We’ve previously used large gazebos and fishing umbrellas when delivering the ‘educational’ aspects of the fishing sessions we offer.
"Having a warm, dry, cosy ‘classroom style’ environment, in and amongst beautiful surroundings and greenspace, will be a fantastic addition to the organisation. It will help us enormously in providing further opportunities and provide a great learning space for both the child and adult sessions we deliver. We can’t wait to start using the space and very much look forward to continue delivering our sessions to help others; whether it be academically, socially or with their mental health and wellbeing.”
Stephen Greenwood added:“It was a pleasure to assist Mark with the lease of this piece of land which will help him take this project to the next level. MS Angling and Education is a vital part of the community for children, families, and individuals, offering a new approach to wellbeing services in Burnley. We wish him the best of luck with the cabin build and the whole project going forward.”
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