Inner city children's lives are set to be transformed, as three Wildlife Trusts projects which offer regular access to nature are given the go-ahead – thanks to a funding boost from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
Players have awarded £300,000 to Wildlife Trusts for the provision of several Forest Schools, which are aimed at giving children in Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester much needed exposure to the outdoors. These Forest Schools will provide fun, engaging opportunities to develop child and parent confidence and enjoyment while spending time outside in nature.
Nick Baker, Vice President of the Wildlife Trusts, said, "The Wildlife Trusts are all about inspiring people, young and old alike, to engage and form personal connections with nature. However, there is always more we can do, and thanks to players of the People's Postcode Lottery, we are now able to reach more young people in some of our largest urban areas through our Forest Schools programme. I can't think of many better ways to change the future than by helping children see all the fun to be had in nature and, at the same time, gain valuable experiences and skills, as well as a greater understanding and appreciation of the real and natural world."
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said, "Children in 2015 are spending half as much time outdoors as they were a generation ago, and it cannot be unrelated that one in ten children suffer from depression. Society is starting to realise the risks that this separation from our natural environment poses to our children's health and happiness. We are delighted to have this wonderful support from players of People's Postcode Lottery in helping thousands of children reconnect withnature through Forest Schools. This will boost theself-development and self-reliance of these children. It is our goal for every child to have access to nature every day."
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "We are delighted that players of People's Postcode Lottery are supporting these innovative and exciting projects. This funding will help to reveal the wonders of the natural environment to young children, some of whom may never have had an opportunity to discover and explore nature on their doorstep."
Developed from the Scandinavian model of learning through outdoor play, Forest Schools provide a programme of visits over a number of weeks. These visits give children a chance to build relationships with the environment, their leaders and classmates, as well as give them the opportunity to get to know wildlife. The leaders are trained to watch the children closely, appreciate different learning styles and personalities, and provide the right support for the individuals they care for.