Charity Nature Vibezzz run healthy outdoor activities that build community spirit in deprived urban areas and give participants a sense of pride in their local green space.
Our community project activities include:
- Forest School
- Introducing families to the beauty of natural environments
- Teaching how to look after wildlife
- Learning and practice to use tools
- Exploratory fun activities such as pond dipping
- Organic vegetable and fruit gardening
- Planting wild flowers and trees
- Making insect hotels to benefit the site
- Nature photography
- Healthy eating: snacks/lunch prepared with organic harvested food
- Reusing (“recycling”) materials
- Looking after environment (litter picking hunts, etc)
- Over night camping events
- School holiday activities
- Projects with local schools and community groups
Forest School provides an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning. Many urban children in London have very little experience of outdoor activities at natural settings, and have little or no connection or understanding of their local natural environment. Our practical sessions help families to gradually adjust to outdoor play and learning, with participants working together in groups or individually. Participants gain independence, self-esteem, build social skills and overcome their fears of this new environment. Whilst learning practical skills and knowledge of their local natural environment plus ways they can help protect it. All our activity sessions are run under the supervision of experienced and fully trained Forest School Leaders.
Past generations of children benefited from extended amounts of unsupervised time outdoors, and as adults they look back fondly at these early experiences. Indeed it is widely recognised that such experiences make a positive impact and as adults we are aware that it shaped many aspects of our own development and health. Despite this there is a cultural shift away from outdoor play and learning, even though it is essential to children’s health, development and well-being. Consequently, it is vital that we maximise children’s opportunities to be outdoors: for some it may be their only opportunity to play freely and safely outside.
Natural England Survey in 2009 found Fewer than 10% of children play in natural areas. When today’s adults were children the figure was 40%.
In October 2015 YouGov poll of parents and children, commissioned by the Wildlife Trust found that only 50% of children say their school has an outdoor nature area; less than 50% have been to a wild place with school to learn about wildlife in the past year and 78% of parents are concern that children don't spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife.
Natural England’s ‘People and Nature Survey (children)’, released in October 2020, has revealed clear inequalities for children engaging with nature, with 71% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds reporting spending less time outside since coronavirus compared with 57% of white children. In addition, almost three-quarters (73%) of children from households with a total annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, compared with 57% from households with an annual income above £17,000. The survey also reveals six in ten children reported they have spent less time outdoors since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with concern about catching or spreading coronavirus the biggest barrier stopping them going out more. The positive role of nature in supporting well-being has also been revealed, with eight in ten children agreeing that being in nature made them very happy, while 70% said that they want to spend more time outdoors with friends post-pandemic.