Taunton Families into the Forest!
A new ‘Families into the Forest’ project has just started, helping lower income families from Taunton to play and learn in the forest of the nearby Blackdown Hills.
The project is based on the Forest School approach, putting the learner at the centre of regular woodland play. As a tryout, funds have been gained by local Forest School leaders from Woodland Journeys for six family days from February to March. The family days will take place in the Neroche Forest near Staple Fitzpaine.
To publicise the sessions and get people signed up, a little ‘pop-up Forest School’ was set up outside the Taunton Asda superstore on the 16th January, and will be there again on 14th February from 9.30-4pm. Taunton town Mayor, Councillor Steve Brooks will be visiting on the 14th to find out more.
Jenny Archard, from Woodland Journeys, said, ‘The ‘pop-up’ sessions at Asda will be fun, people can meet us and see what Forest School is all about. We really want families with younger children to come along and sign up for the free woodland sessions which will start on the 1st Feb and run until March.’
Lisa Chell, local Forest School leader said, ‘Children are playing outside much less than previous generations, which has all kinds of negative effects. We’ll help parents see how easy it is to find things to do outside and make the experience enjoyable for everyone.’
Many children and young people in Taunton have already benefitted from Forest School, having fun in the woods and building their confidence by learning practical skills. This new funding has been awarded because people have seen the benefits for children and they now want to give young families the same opportunity.
The project is run by Woodland Journeys with support from Asda, Taunton Deane Community Development Team, the Link Partnership Centre and the Neroche Scheme. The funds come from the Blackdown Hills AONB and are supported by the Blackdown Hills Forest Education Group. If it is successful, they hope to run a bigger project later in the year. For more information contact Jenny on 07541 080397.