We are super excited to announce that Hackney Council has awarded Outdoor People funding for another Family Wild Walks Group! We are calling for families to join us on monthly walks around the Hackney borough to make friends, explore, find places to play and connect to our gorgeous (slightly) wild places!
Did you know Hackney has 56 parks!! It's just about the greenest inner-city borough in the country... But lots of Hackney's families tell us they are unsure of where to go, if there are nearby places to play and wonder what to do when their child cries "I'm bored..."
Our local green spaces are free, fun and there for everyone. A daily dose of the outdoors is so vitally important for everyone's health and well-being and an integral part to child development. So from October through to March we are going to offer monthly explorations, get togethers and visits to parks and play areas around the borough...
A key focus of the project is community building. Nothing makes us happier than to see parents getting together to enjoy their local green spaces and give their kids chance to run around, build a den, climb a tree, scrape their knees and get back up again. It's great for reducing parent's stress levels too!
We're inviting families to join us on monthly wanders, all about 2-3 kilometers long max, the right distance for a 3-7 year old to enjoy, with a good play session - and time for a tea break - in the middle.
In exchange we are asking parents to try to make sure their children go outdoors for 1 hour every day, 4 days a week to have fun. That can include playtime at school, so as long as school gives children a couple of breaks, that could be just going a longer way home via the park or encouraging some chalk drawing on the pavement or in a car park. Or it could be a bigger visit to some of the iconic and gorgeous parks, gardens or cemeteries in easy reach of everywhere in Hackney.
The monthly Wild Walks are for finding new spaces, playing new games, meeting new faces, sharing ideas and discussing what stops families from feeling at home in their local parks (and thinking up ways to get round these!).
Playing outdoors is still an important part of childhood. It's when children figure out that "bark on a tree is like us when we have skin" or what happens when they jump in an icy puddle! One parent told us:
"It's hard to get them outside sometimes, but once there, they love it!"
The meeting points for each of the walks will change depending on the groups, but we aim to make it as easy as possible - just a short walk from home or school.
A big barrier to the outdoors is the rain and with autumn on the horizon and the night's drawing in, we don't doubt those rainy days for a second! Luckily there's a simple solution to that one: waterproofs. Playing in the rain is endless amounts of fun. If you don't believe us, let us show you! This year we are excited we have some outdoors gear gifted by our friends at Learning Through Landscapes for any kids that are lacking - wellies, jackets and waterproof trousers for kids - and are starting another GoFundMe campaign soon to raise funds so we can offer adult waterproofs too.
If you and your children would like to join us on the Wild Walks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book on.
We also need Volunteers - if you know your way around Hackney and would like to help families explore more, then do get in touch! You do not have to be available for all the walks, but we do ask that you join our volunteer training walk in the last week of September. Please email email@example.com to express your interest!
Huge thanks to Hackney Council for the funding to support this project, and the customers and especially folks that rent tents from Outdoor People. We are looking for more sponsorship to help us expand this programme, if you can help please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.