The Wild Bunch

By Col

It's pretty well documented how much benefit kids can gain from spending more time exploring the outdoors. However, in some circumstancesit's surprisingly difficult for all sorts of reasons, even if nature is close at hand. Well one initiative run by ecobirmingham works to connect children back to nature, toinspire and educate through hands on holiday clubs.Ecobirmingham is a urban based charity thatcontributes to debate and engages in projects that are relevant and tangible to the people who live in the city. They do this through delivering grass roots activities, events and programmes that engage, educate and stimulate communities and volunteers; They applied to the Alpkit Foundaiton to help lowerprice barriers for their Wild Holiday Bunch.

Anne from ecobirmingham told us a bit more about it and how this years Wild Bunch got on.

"Birmingham has a lack of provision for holiday clubs that are both outdoors and creative. Wild Holiday Bunch successfully closes this gap by facilitating workshops for children that improve access to the natural world using forest school and craftivism principles. At Wild Holiday Bunch children will be outdoors for the whole day connecting with nature, building resilience through managed risk-taking and making natural arts and crafts in artist-delivered workshops. The wider benefits of the club include confidence building and a reduction in the likelihood of obesity and mental health conditions."

The grant from Alpkit Foundaiton allowed them to offer subsidised or fully funded places ealier in the year. 75% of the children attending were from families on low income who benefited from funded places and who would not have been able to attend otherwise.They had 34 children benefit from attendingthe holiday club on one or several days (13 children/day in average)

"The children enjoyed the contact with the natural world, expressing that it made them feel happy, free, relaxed… Some of them who attended several days, became more confident with their environment and more knowledgeable about the site. They learnt new skills such as lighting up a camp fire, using a pen knife to carve objects out of wood, learning about the properties of different woods, and made friends. ecobirmingham was able to work in a new, deprived, community reaching out to families on low income to offer their children quality outdoor activities, helping them value the environment at their doorstep."