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HackneyWildWalks RSS

#OutdoorPeople, BHF, cypn, HackneyWildWalks, newsletter, The Hospital Club -

Hi all Been an exciting week! Last night was the Children And Young People Now Awards and I was very honoured to be invited along. It was a great evening, honouring many amazing projects - including several fantastic play projects - and a great chance to catch up with past colleagues from across several careers! Sam Gyimah, Childcare Minister, gave the keynote speech and using the opportunity to talk about children's mental health and launch a new cross-department strategy to improve mental health services in schools.

"The very fact I’m talking here today shows that children’s mental health has a place on the political stage that hasn’t been seen before. In fact, I’m the first ever DfE minister to be appointed with specific responsibility for children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)."
It remains to be seen whether he or his colleagues will see the MASSIVE link between simply getting outdoors, roaming wild and playing free and good mental health. Yesterday too Outdoor People, in partnership with Hackney Council, had honourable mention at the British Heart Foundation's National Conference entitled "Promoting Physical Activity by Stealth" where we were delighted to be asked to present a poster. What do you reckon?? Wild Walks Poster BHF You can see it full size here: Wild Walks BHF Poster The other big news, as you may have seen, is we are off to the East London Design Show! For more check out the previous blog ;) And finally the online shop is neeeeearly here. It is actual online, here, but not yet linked in to the website. Hope it will be very soon! my goodness it takes a long time to upload everything... Oh one last thing, on Monday I'll be speaking at The Hospital Club's Sustainability Week as a board member of The Wild Network, discussing the links between kids being outdoors and future sustaibility. Afterwards there is a foraged dinner!! I understand there are still a few tickets, book here. Have a great weekend! And make it easy to #GetOutdoors and get yourselves so #wildtime!

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#OutdoorPeople, Charlie, Diary, E8, exploring, graffiti, Hackney Wild Walks, HackneyWildWalks, London Fields, Outdoor People, parks, playing, shops, streetplay, streets, urban exploring -

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
I built my long term love of just being outdoors simply playing around the the places where I was growing up. Climbing trees, roller skating, den making, breaking into building sites... More distant adventures were had, but they were special. This blog is about the everyday adventures that start just outside your front door. And be warned this is a bit more of a personal blog - but I do include a good few references to thinkers and researchers too, to bring it back to I hope something useful if you are trying to make the case to increase walking with children or families where you live or work. We moved quite a lot through my childhood and teenage years - Yorkshire, N Wales, Liverpool, Cheshire and Baghdad*. Then post college (in London), I had eight more addresses from the Highlands of Scotland to Exeter before I was 32 and finally 'settled' here in Hackney. Moving so often, playing and exploring outdoors was an important way for me to get to know my neighborhood, to put down roots quickly, to feel safe and known, to make friends with both other children (and later adults!) and the lady that ran the corner shop (insert coffee shop!). Research from a number of sources** shows children and families are safer and feel far more 'connected' where they are outdoors in their own places more and know their neighbours. Living in relatively car free areas massively increases connectivity. Whatever, from experience I'd agree that the more time you spend meandering and really looking at your neighbourhood, the more connected and safer you feel. And that still holds however old you are. In the course of the last few months developing the Hackney Wild Walks with the good folks of Hackney's Public Health team, and taking professionals for workshops and treasure hunts around some of the secret spaces across the borough has reminded me so strongly how very, very important it is for all of us to simply walk where we live. to feel it in all its seasons. Yesterday I needed to visit a shop in Haggerston, about a mile from my flat, so instead of zipping there on my bike and decided to go in a #HackneyWildWalk headspace and see what I could find... One of my favourite pastimes in Hackney is spotting new graffiti. The world is constantly changing. It doesn't matter how often you go down a path, it is always different. That applies just as much to the built as the growing environment. That's one of the many benefits parents and educators mention about simply going outdoors - there is simply so much more to talk about! IMG_4878 Stik is a famous local graffiti artist - but this is the biggest piece of his I've seen. IMG_4883 Even walking along side streets of an inner city borough on a dull October day you can find beautiful flowers, and I was happy to spot this cornflower, one of my favourites. IMG_4885 Growing up partly in the Middle East, it makes me very happy to see trees like this so close to home! When I'm doing the walk with children these provide a great talking point too. IMG_4886 And curious signs! The British sense of humour is visible in so many tucked away spaces, always nice to see! IMG_4887 Urban walks always have a bench to sit, drink your coffee, and watch the world go by. IMG_4892 Then homeward bound... IMG_4889 There are so many trees to see, plants of all shapes and sizes, animals and birds to both see and hear.  This morning - on the way to early yoga - I think I heard a nightingale. Need to check that on my app... but not until I've smelt the earth a little longer. Playing, exploring and simply observing where we live - and chatting to folks on the way, something most people seem to welcome if done with a smile, though the dog helps! - are critical not just to our health, but to our sense of who we are in the place we live. So do try and make space for a wild walk in the next week...

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Broadway Market Schoolyard, camping, Diary, Exhale, HackneyWildWalks, Kelda, kites, Klean Kanteen, water bottles, Womad -

We are really gearing up for Exhale Festival Exhale programmenow, with the page up showcasing tents to hire and the team for play and games coming together. I'm also making long lists of the right range of products for our on-site shop - do share your favourite tips!     We're also planning our Playday2014 - are you? We've loads of gorgeous new water bottles Colourful kanteensand some kites at the stall at Broadway Market Schoolyard, so if you're passing by, come and say hello and take a look. I won't be there this week but the fantastic Kelda and Philip will be. Kelda is a very experienced Playworker so if you have any questions about how to get your kids or the neighbourhood kids a bit more wild, then she's your woman. Somersault Festival last week was great fun, and huge thanks to the folks who came and joined in the discussion. We were reflecting on why kids don't go out, and how we can bring down the barriers to kids enjoying their own communities. There will be a dedicated blog coming up, but we agreed key calls to politicians in the upcoming elections, such as:

  • better cycleways and ways for young people to move round their own community
  • making street closures like Playing Out easier and everywhere
  • making the importance of outdoor play better known
I also really enjoyed meeting Free Range Urban Kids who are planning a completely outdoor nursery! In Hackney! Do take a look at what they are doing. Right I'm off to Womad with the family where we'll be seeing how few plastic and paper cups we can avoid using... The tiffins are also useful for checking that festy facepaint! Don't forget you could check out the Hackney Wild Walks this weekend, and maybe take a kite! Have a fab weekend and make it easy Cath    

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adventure, Aside, chicken salad, Diary, HackneyWildWalks, Outdoor People, picnics, wet weather, Wildtime -

Yesterday was the day of a long planned picnic with my good friend Gabriel (aged two), his aunt and my intern Phoebe. The unexpected rain could have put a dampener on it... but no way. It was great to get to try out my super light weight tarp, and anyway we had umbrellas and waterproofs and a beautiful lunch. #nosuchthingasbadclothes!! [embed]https://www.flickr.com/photos/123528527@N07/14619708385/in/set-72157645609239051/player/width=75height=75frameborder=0allowfullscreenwebkitallowfullscreenmozallowfullscreenoallowfullscreenmsallowfullscreen/iframe There are some more photos on the Outdoor Peeps Flikr stream, with huge thanks to Gabe's mum Jess for thee permission and the lunch! And to the teachers on strike so we got this chance... We were doing the Haggerston walk from the #HackneyWildWalks set, We didn't get all the way round - when you are two years old, a couple of hours playing outside in the rain was enough and anyway we walked - and scooted - from London Fields. PJ56044_Wild Walks A3 version.indd Do please share your photos and stories about your #HackneyWildWalks or indeed your #WildWalks anywhere! Make the outdoors an adventure, there is always something to discover.  

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Cake, consultancy, Diary, HackneyWildWalks, Klean Kanteen, Market, Outdoor People, Storm Kettles, Wild Network, Wildtime -

It's coming up to two months since our launch on Snowdon and definitely time for a bit of reflection on the journey! First I just wanted to say a huge sticker to all of you that have stopped by the stall over the last few weeks, who have liked us on here, and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and who have handed over email addresses and cards asking to keep in touch. Starting up a new enterprise of any description is tough, and all the hours seem so worth it when I get messages and feedback from people sharing the news articles and research I re-post, customers who are loving their new gear and colleagues in other enterprises (charitable and commercial) encouraging me that this is right. This Social Enterprise can work! We can make it easy to get outdoors! After 22 years of working in the public and charitable sectors it's been a fantastic learning experience setting up the market stall. Building up stock, figuring out how to set everything out and yep dealing with high winds and rain! But three weeks in it's making money, and is a fantastic way to connect with people. I've always loved finding lovely kit, stuff that's well engineered, that is beautiful and that serves a good purpose. The suppliers of Storm Kettles, Klean Kanteens and the Cake Ts, hats and bags are all lovely, and I hope to widen the range soon. [gallery type="rectangular" columns="9" link="none" ids="436,432,427,421,430,434,414,415,435"] Lots more photos of happy folks, along with random shots of my dog Charlie, over on Instagram: http://instagram.com/outdoorpeople_photos I've been massively helped by the lovely Vanessa on the stall next to me at Broadway Market - the Imaginative Play Store - and together we make sure there are boxes and toys for kids to play with and stuff to make dens so they can chill out in what is a very hectic market space. IMG_1988 Thanks too to the lovely folk from Stretch London who let me have the 'pop up shop' in the gorgeous yoga studio in Columbia Road for the last three weeks. There will be a juice bar there from this weekend - do check them out! Doing the market stall is in many ways like being a playworker, a facilitator, a speaker. My energy needs to be just as positive, relaxed, in the moment. It's all part of the journey. I love the many points where we are all connecting, and whether people buy things, stop to chat, sign up to get the emails or to have a cup of tea nearby, it's lovely to feel the links that will, in some small part, make it easier for everyone to get outdoors. In other news last week I was very proud to see the #HackneyWildWalks published in Hackney Today. Hackney Wild WalksI (and Charlie) really enjoyed supporting the Council's lovely Public Health team in developing these walks – finding hidden corners, beautiful gardens and fabulous playgrounds – to entice children to take their parents and friends out to explore. The locations were chosen because these are the bits of Hackney with unbelievably high rates of childhood obesity, where even on a hot sunny Saturday few children can be seen out playing, where they often rarely leave their estate. We really hope they will encourage everyone out, whether to do these or to make up their own. I'll have some printed copies of the maps free on the stall at the weekend and you can download them here: http://news.hackney.gov.uk/wild-walks/. Please do share and help make Hackney healthier. PWT poster croppedLast month I was also very proud to be made a trustee-in-waiting of The Wild Network, the folks behind the Project Wild Thing documentary. Our role now is to continue to build the network of individuals and organisations to get children connected with nature. So far there are over 7800 organisations and individuals signed up, each pledging to swap half an hour of screen time for #wildtime. Will you join? On Facebook I've been sharing a lot of articles about why my mission - making it easy to get outdoors - is so important. There is such a huge amount of data showing that

  • We have to do something about climate change. It's real. Plastic, rubbish, waste. We can all do something to reduce these. And we can ensure children are connected enough to want to reduce them too.
  • Children need risk, they need freedom, they need to play...

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