CARE farms and gardens across the UK are following in the footsteps of an award-winning Dorset farm by launching a national campaign to help men vulnerable men who enjoy the outdoors.

The founding Countrymen's Club, at Rylands Farm, Holnest in Dorset, has been running since 2011. It was designed to allow men with health issues to access support services in a safe and natural environment.

The Countrymen UK Clubs were developed as a result of an initiative by Future Roots - an organisation which runs programmes in Dorset for both young people and adults.

Future Roots and Countrymen UK founder Julie Plumley said: "The unique combination of activities taking place outdoors reflects our belief, underpinned by recent research, that getting back to farm and countryside environments and green spaces, overcomes isolation and has a positive impact on physical health and mental wellbeing."

Countrymen UK, a registered charity, are now set to run clubs stretching from Cornwall to Scotland and are looking for members and volunteers to join, particularly men who have long term health conditions including Dementia, Parkinson's and other life-limiting illnesses.

The clubs also help the wives and carers of the members, providing an opportunity for respite as well as the chance to socialise and gain mutual support.

One Countryman, Dan Hodgeson, said: "I was depressed and isolated. I missed the life I once had in the countryside and had little contact with people outside my family. That's all changed now. I love being outside again. It brings back memories. It's become a new adventure for me - a healthy adventure. And I'm surrounded by people who share my interests."

For more information about Countrymen UK, visit or email: or Tel: 01963 210789.