THE founder of Oldham-based social training company Dog with a Bone has teamed up with Tameside and Oldham MIND – the mental health charity - to pilot a new training course.

The programme run by John Matthews uses outdoor activities such as drystone walling as form of mindfulness and is aimed at people who could benefit from being active in the outdoors.

John said: “I recently was involved in some local activity with community connector David McCallion and I told him about our ambitions. David said that ‘the sooner you can give this course away to people that really need it, the better’.

“A few months later and we are on our way to fund this fantastic opportunity. To be able to give the course to those that will benefit most we need some proper funding.

“So far all the social improvement work we have done has been paid for by our parent company, Bigger Picture.

“I could see the potential for the teaching of being outside and drystone walling, an activity that requires focus, concentration and an ability to see things through, to be able to help those suffering from anxiety, stress or worse. It was very obvious to me.”

Jenny Bates from MIND added: “Learning to drystone wall, an activity that cannot be rushed, outside in the fresh air, amongst nature, really does tick every box for helping improve mental health.”

Dog with a Bone, based in Dobcross Saddleworth, has offered the chance to try an introduction to mindfulness alongside its drystone walling courses for some time.

John has introduced Aimee Belmore of the Saddleworth Independent to the activity as well as Jim White, staff writer from the Daily Telegraph who did a course with John recently.