Our participants tell us that coming to Muddy Fork is a big help with a sense of purpose, getting back into socialising, improving confidence, reducing isolation, engaging with the community, and having fun!



The Idle Valley Muddy Fork project is a special place you can find solace, respite, purpose, escape, a supportive network and yourself!  When you need a moment of calm – this is a full day!  You can be at one with nature or hands on with creative tasks.

I think it’s very important to be part of something so positive such as the Muddy Fork project. It stops you feeling cut off or isolated from society. It gives you a sense of purpose and belonging, and it gives you something to focus on and look forward to.

The project is also very rewarding and beneficial to all involved as we can see the differences we make to the nature reserve as a whole and the surrounding wildlife in general.

The Idle Valley Muddy Fork project is one of a few in the local community that offers people struggling with various mental health issues a relaxed and friendly place where they can rebuild their confidence and regain their self worth.

Personally I suffer with PTSD and find it impossible to relax most of the time but I am able to forget my worries here and breathe for a while! 



I've come a long way from when I first started with Muddy Fork and Ecominds. I struggled to leave my flat, and I had to get a taxi every time. But I've signed up for an NVQ in Sheffield in Environmental Conservation from September 2018:  and my confidence is all down to you!



I have been attending the Idle Valley Muddy Fork project for about three years.  During that time I have improved my self-confidence. This helps me cope with everyday life. Although my mood is still variable, coming to Muddy Fork helps me to be more positive even at home and in the community.

The volunteers in the groups have become like a family to me, as I have no family of my own. Group volunteers are always there to support, encourage and give me strength to continue with not drinking alcohol. I would not want to loose that friendship. My heart is always there.

I love the environment and the wildlife at Idle Valley, and there is always a job for me to do, and I can see what I have achieved.  Because there are purposeful activities it makes me feel worthwhile and gives me a positive outlook. Knowing that Muddy Fork is here and readily accessible is a huge life line for me.

Dom Schad who runs the project is always there for me. He makes a point of checking that everyone is alright, safe and well. He is very approachable, supportive and consistent in his manner. He explains things very clearly so that learning is fun. Dom is amazing.



Before I started going to Idle Valley I wouldn’t leave the house on my own not having confidence to do so.

Then someone told me about Idle Valley and what they do and they arranged a tester day and I loved it and now I’ve been there for about two to three years.

Now the team there are the best I have ever met in my life. As I’ve been there for a while now and the little group that we are on a Friday I see them as my next family not just a group of people with health issues because we are always there to listen to each other and we don’t judge for what we say to each other.

When I’m having a really bad day the team we have got really know what to say to cheer me back up.

Just wanted you to know what this has done for me and how I feel.


I have been involved in the project since 2012. I have had a lot of support from Dominic and Becky and volunteers.

As a sufferer of bi-polar for 35 years I’ve had support from nurses, doctors and within the community but Idle Valley has been a place which has given me a real sense of purpose. Idle Valley has become a healing place for me and where through various activities I have learned to have fun and socialise.

I have gained so much confidence from being involved in this project.