We are excited to launch our Outdoor Families 2021 programme!
Even the smallest patches of nature in the city have become even more precious and wild over the last year. London - the world’s first National Park City - has over 50% green and blue space. In Hackney alone we have 56 parks!
Despite a new found appreciation for nature in the city, even the weeds squeezing through the cracks in the pavement, Natural England Survey in September 2020 found that 60% of children spent less time outdoors since the start of the pandemic. 73% of children from lower income households spent less time outside compared to 57% of children from higher income households.
Going outdoors has a critical, positive impact on our lives at all ages, never more so than now.
“I would never have done anything like this with the kids… now we spend time together having fun. We now go on little walks, on little hunts for things, and the kids are picking up sticks and leaves that we have to keep at home! So we’re all in touch with nature now.”
Outdoor Families is a journey together, in community. We go on adventures, led by our children, through the greenery in our neighbourhoods. We explore our local parks and meet our local trees and resident foxes, birds and neighbours.
This year we will be hosting fortnightly Sunday Wild Walks. We will work closely with 8 families who have experienced social isolation and lack of nature connection recently to overcome barriers and make going outdoors feel fun, accessible and safe. This starts in our local area; acquainting ourselves with local parks and people.
Through this programme, families will have the opportunity to go on their first ever camping trip with friends and families in our community to Green Farm Kent in the school holidays. On this trip we will learn how to put up a tent and cook over a camping stove and have the time to relax, play, meet the farm animals, explore the woodland and (most importantly) climb trees!
Our Wild Walks and Family Camping trips have been redesigned and tested over the last year to ensure we are still able to gather in nature safely, following the most up-to-date Coronavirus guidelines. We are preparing for family camping trips in the school holidays, so we’ll be ready to go camping when national restrictions permit. Of course, we can’t predict the future and as such remain flexible and able to change our plans if necessary.
Connecting as a community online helps us overcome our lack of time together in-person. We share resources, challenges and prompts to get out into nature. Families share photos and stories of their adventures and encourage one another. We meet for Campfire Sessions on Zoom and check in with each other over the phone. For Hackney-based families, we provide outdoors essentials, like wellies and waterproof trousers, to make it easier and more fun to get outside, whatever the weather.
This programme is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, People’s Postcode Trust, Hackney Giving, Pearce Coggan Foundation and match-funded by Outdoor People. We are lucky to be supported by some incredible outdoor gear brands that share our community values and love for the planet and nature - thank you Marmot and Arc’teryx.