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BIG LOTTERY AWARDS FOR ALL GIVES MORE CHILDREN A CHANCE TO THRIVE OUTDOORS

Thu 14 Mar 2019

Outdoor Learning charity – The Kingswood Trust helps young people to connect with nature, improving their health and wellbeing. The Trust has just launched a new and exciting project “Woodland Foresters” with the help of a Big Lottery grant for £9120. This will enable four groups, aged 11-15 years to participate in nature based learning. Rachel Wells, Charity manager said, “I’m delighted that we have we have been successful with our Awards for All funding bid which will support 48 local children to improve their confidence and self esteem, learn new skills and to learn about themselves and the natural environment around them.” Today, children spend so little time outdoors that they are becoming unfamiliar with some of natures commonest wildlife. Lack of exercise and less freedom to roam, with children spending more time indoors looking at screens has been shown to impact negatively on children’s physical and mental health. In addition, being indoors reduces their ability to learn to cope with the risks and challenges that they will go on to face as adults.

Opportunities on the new ‘Woodland Foresters’ project will include learning about a range of habitats through pond dipping, bird watching, woodland investigation, wildlife survey and conservation activities. Participants will gain knowledge about keeping safe outdoors as well as new practical woodcraft skills through the use of a variety of tools and equipment. They will work creatively with natural materials eg construction of bird boxes, willow carving and making woodland structures. They will work as a team to create a base camp and shelters for their activities, building and cooking on a camp fire, learning about camp craft, climbing trees, building dens and having fun with their peers. Woodlands are magical places where children can be children and develop a sense of freedom and adventure.

The beneficiary groups on the Woodland Foresters Project will be ‘nurture groups’ selected by schools as those young people who require additional support programmes and will gain most from these experiences. For example children with poor mental and physical health, those with low confidence and self esteem, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs. Chair of the Trust board David Harris said,” This award is well deserved for the charity which has an outstanding track record on its nature based projects and we are so pleased that the community will benefit from more, much needed time outdoors. Kingswood Trust has so many amazing opportunities for children of all ages.”