Local Forest School receives National Lottery Funding.
Totnes based CIC (Community Interest Company) Hedge-U-cation has received a £9987.17 award from the National Lottery Awards For All scheme to continue its Forest School sessions helping children with emotional and behavioural needs.
Hedge-u-cation began in 2013 as a project to build links between the settled and Traveller communities. The Hedge-U-cation Family Camp has happened each year since then and has had great success as a warm, nurturing environment where families can come, be in nature and have new and different opportunities, sharing and learning new skills.
Director and instigator of the project Angie Whitehead said: “We believe that learning new skills together in the outdoors promotes resilience, helps to improve social, emotional and physical well-being, and strengthens communities. We are passionate about creating change and breaking down barriers between the settled and travelling community.”
Now the project has expanded and Hedge-U-cation volunteers have set up a Forest School in Collaford Woods, Blackawton. Funding has been given to the Rekindling Roots project to provide outdoor sessions for groups of up to 15 participants – a mix of children from both traveller and settled communities – particularly focusing on young people who have been, or who are at risk of exclusion or have special educational needs.
Sessions include cooking, den building, woodland art and music, green woodworking, games, weaving, and tree, plant and bug identification and are educational and therapeutic by nature.
Set in the natural environment, Forest School activities offer a child-led, non-judgmental environment. The children and young people learn new skills and demonstrate increased confidence and self-esteem. Sessions build independence and resilience.
Ms Whitehead said “The money will enable us to offer staff training to practitioners and volunteers, buy equipment, and offer bursary sessions at the Forest School as well as contribute to the ongoing development of the project”
The project is open to all children from ages 6 to 15 in the Torbay, South Hams and Teignbridge area and referrals can be made by schools, parents carers and other organisations.
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