As the new year starts for many it will mean a change in education or time to think about something new, read on for ideas
Make a splash at school
An initiative launched by The Outdoor Guide Foundation is helping provide Waterproofs and Wellies to state primary schools to allow pupils to enjoy their childhood
As a child, there’s nothing like the simple pleasure of splashing in a puddle. But to do this without being told off and getting too wet, you need the right clothing.
Sadly many children in state primary schools do not have these basic “tools” – Wellington boots, a hooded waterproof jacket and over trousers – to enable them to get out and enjoy this most innocent of pastimes.
However, thanks to The Outdoor Guide Foundation many are now being given this opportunity through the Waterproofs and Wellies Project, the first of what it is hoped will be several similar schemes from the foundation to help disadvantaged children make the most of the natural world around them.
The Outdoor Guide Foundation is the charitable arm of The Outdoor Guide, a free walking tool founded by TV presenter Julia Bradbury and her sister Gina, which aims to make the outdoors more accessible
Waterproofs and Wellies splashed onto the scene in March 2021 with CBeebies presenter Gemma Hunt launching the initiative alongside Gina. Gemma said: “I am thrilled to be supporting this wonderful initiative and encouraging more children to get outside. The kits provide the basic gear that will allow children to have wonderful outdoor experiences when at school, whatever the weather!”
The goal is to donate 10 sets of wellies and waterproofs to every state primary school in the UK – a whopping 20,000 – to make the outdoors more accessible for all, allowing youngsters to experience, understand and protect nature. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns proved the benefits of being able to get outside: educational, social interaction and empathy, enhancing wellbeing, reduction in anger, stress and anxiety, improved physical fitness and community engagement.
The Children’s Society says spending time outdoors and in nature enhances a young person’s short and long-term wellbeing. It is also known to improve mental development and personal fulfilment, all of which is endorsed by Mind, advocates of the health benefits of outdoor activities in all age ranges including a reduction in anger, stress, anxiety and an increase in physical fitness as well as a sense of balance and personal awareness.
Waterproofs and Wellies is the result of working with reputable suppliers to source the best value kit with the sale cost for the whole kit just £30. The not-for-profit project donates 10 various-sized kits to a school for them to decide how to distribute at their discretion. Schools and parents can buy extra kits at the same cost.
Julia says: “I am thrilled to be supporting this and encouraging more children to get outside in all weathers! These packs have been sourced as the basic gear that will allow children to have wonderful outdoor experiences, whatever the weather.”
If you can help, please donate at tinyurl.com/mpf62jjv
£30 – will buy and deliver one complete kit to a school
£300 – will buy and deliver 10 complete kits to a school
£1,200 – will buy and deliver 40 complete kits to four schools
£10,000 – will provide kits for schools you choose in a specific area
Teachers, to find out more and nominate your school visit theoutdoorguidefoundation.org/
Waterproofs and Wellies are calling on businesses to help support the project too – every business which donates £300 to the initiative will receive a certificate thanking them for their gift for putting something back into the community and will be able to choose which schools they support.
Thanks to the generous donations so far, The Outdoor Guide Foundation has been able to help more than 200 schools since the launch. Businesses interested in getting involved in Waterproof and Wellies should email Gina at [email protected] or call 0203 393 5084.