Taking Sheffield lessons outdoors

Fun at forest school.
Fun at forest school.
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Outdoor learning for young people with autism in Sheffield has been given a five-figure boost thanks to the National Lottery.

Social Forestry has been awarded £10,000 as part of the National Lottery Good Causes scheme, to provide 10 days of woodland camps for young people with autism and learning disabilities and their families.

Emma Conder, co-ordinator, said: “There will be expert practitioners and crafts people running fun activities and teaching new skills at our woodland site.

“We hope the camps will give families the chance to see their children thrive outdoors and in a social environment.

“Our main aim is to highlight the importance of the outdoors in improving the health and wellbeing of all people.”

The not-for-profit company – based at Clarion Stables, Hathersage Road, Dore – is comprised of different projects working with children and adults of different ages, needs and abilities; including those with autism.

It focuses on promoting the environment in learning, saying that everybody should have access to explore nature.

Other projects include FoCAL – forest community and adult learning, forest schools kindergarten family sessions and pop-up forest schools.

Helen Mark, a volunteer and forest schools practitioner whose two-year-old son, Ajay, attends the kindergarten, said: “The kindergarten gives parents the confidence to take their child out in to the woods and let them play in the mud.

“Sometimes parents are worried about letting their children play in the rain because they are worried they will become ill, but we are hoping they will see the benefits outweigh that possibility.

“We believe there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”

n For details about Social Forestry, call 07713 498698.

n By playing the National Lottery you help raise £35 million every week for Good Causes.

To see this difference this makes in your community, visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk