Getting active on Trust land

A new report published today by the All Party Commission on Physical Activity has highlighted the need for greater physical activity amongst the UK population.

With news that physical inactivity accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths in the UK and rising, Rob Joules, the National Trust’s Sports Partnership Manager, explains how the Trust is working with partner organisations to encourage more people to take part in sport.

“This new report highlights the growing epidemic of inactivity and the serious dangers this Visitors enjoying a game of beach volleyball at Shell Bay, Studland, Dorset. Chris Laceyposes for our children’s health. We’re working with a variety of partners to help create greater entry level sporting opportunities, which we believe are the key to encouraging more people to get active. By working with these organisations we’re focusing on developing fun, social activities that will help people lead more active lifestyles.

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Changes to the Inner City Project

For the past 25 years the National Trust’s Inner City Project has sought to provide opportunities for people in Newcastle to access the countryside. A recent independent review of the project concluded that there may be more cost effective ways for the charity to engage a wide audience, particularly in the outdoors.

Holy Jesus Hospital, Newcastle (Blenky64)

Built in 1681, the hospital currently houses the National Trust Inner City Project.

A National Trust spokesperson said:

“The National Trust has entered into a formal consultation process with staff at the Inner City Project to review the future of the project. The Inner City Project has played a useful role for a number of people, but we need to be mindful of how we spend our charitable resources to achieve the best results. “

“An independent review concluded that there may be better ways to engage more people with nature and the outdoors. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the National Trust will explore alternative ways of working with existing groups based at Holy Jesus Hospital as well as working with partners to identify new opportunities to engage a broader audience across the North East.”

“Our properties are a lot more proactive in the way we encourage people to access the coast and countryside on their doorstep. Over the past year we have launched our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ campaign and started a national partnership to re-connect young people with Nature, and this has proved very popular with children and adults alike.”

The outcome of the consultation is expected in February.

Update 14/03/12: Closure of the Inner City Project

“The National Trust can confirm that the Inner City Project in Newcastle will close in May. The Inner City Project has been running for 25 years and the Trust values all that it has achieved, but as a charity we need to be mindful of how we spend our resources and adapt in the current economic climate.

“The National Trust will work with the young people involved in the project in a transition phase to identify the right opportunities for them at our places, particularly those accessible by public transport such as Gibside in Gateshead. This could include formal training or volunteering opportunities. The Trust will also work to enable existing groups for older people, including walking and art groups, to continue.

“We hope that by reviewing how we work, we can use our resources more effectively and offer more opportunities to more people.

“Regrettably 2 full time and 1 part time roles will be made redundant due to the project closure.”

New report sheds light on the importance of outdoor play.

New research carried out by the Forestry Commission Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University reveals the importance of outdoor play in line with the National Trust’s own Natural Childhood Inquiry. Education experts spent a year studying a group of 13 children from Meadowlane Primary School in Cardiff as part of a Forest School programme to assess how our woodlands can help their development.

“…Allowing children the freedom to explore a natural environment offers a wealth of opportunity to develop creative self-directed play.”

‘Forest’ Schools in Wales

The report outlines a reflective journey on a year long Forest School programme with a group of year four primary children in South East Wales. The Forest School approach has been popular within the Foundation Phase in Wales, however, there seems to have been less focus upon Forest School with Key Stage Two children, this belief was a catalyst for the project.

“…the children seemed to naturally seek to extend their individual boundaries and development.”

The conclusions from this report suggest that allowing children the freedom to explore a natural environment offers a wealth of opportunity to develop creative self-directed play. The report suggests that “all the children tended to take on challenges when they were ready for them.  When left to their own devices, the children seemed to naturally seek to extend their individual boundaries and development” (2012, p35).

“…children are often more involved, imaginative and excited in their learning experiences when they are making their own choices.”

The Forest School leaders aimed to strike a balance between establishing a certain amount of structure during this year-long Forest School programme, which made certain children feel more secure, and allowing sufficient time and encouragement for self-directed learning and play. The report suggests that this time of exploration was invaluable to the children’s experiences.  Observations by the Forest School leaders indicate that the children are often more involved, imaginative and excited in their learning experiences when they are making their own choices. Had the programme been more structured around adult-led activities, these valuable learning opportunities may not have occurred.

The report goes on to question the emphasis placed on self-esteem within a Forest School programme, especially over a short six or ten week programme. It suggests that measuring how self-efficacious children are at specific tasks would be a more accurate and manageable measure for Forest School leaders. It does not dispute the possible gains for self-esteem within a Forest School programme; however, “what it aims to do is open the debate and question the ways in which we measure success” (2012, p. 40).

“For a new generation, nature is more abstraction than reality. Increasingly, nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear – to ignore.”
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

 

As part of the National Trust’s response to the lack of connection between kids and nature we launched our 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign in May, with many more initiatives to follow. The issues of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ are becoming increasingly understood thanks to research by the National Trust and other organisations.

National Trust recruiting for kids council

A group of advisors – made up entirely of children- is being recruited by the National Trust to provide advice on how to get more of the nation’s children outdoors.

The idea follows the charity’s recent Natural Childhood Report and 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign, and shows the Trust stepping up its game in encouraging children to explore the outdoors and get closer to nature.

The National Trust is looking to sign up ten children aged between seven and twelve to the council [1] where they will play an important role in developing the charity’s outdoor campaigns, and making their properties more fun for younger visitors.

The perfect candidate will be brimming with enthusiasm and fun, plus have a natural love for the outdoors and fresh air. Potential applicants are also required to have an adventurous spirit and a wild imagination. A fondness for rolling down hills or jumping in muddy puddles would be considered a bonus.

To offer children a chance to try out the National Trust and get inspiration on what they would like to change if they were appointed to the Kid’s Council, the Trust will open up its doors to children for free for the whole month of August. Over 200 places will be free of charge to children [2], giving them the opportunity to explore National Trust places across the country.

The successful council applicants will be announced later in the year and will be offered free year long access to National Trust places for themselves and their family. Canoeing, surfing and camping will be part of the winning prize to ensure kids and their families experience the full National Trust offering. The Kids’ Council will meet throughout 2013 and report their findings into the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Director, so their suggestions can be put into practise to help make the outdoors more fun for the nation’s kids.

The application process will close on 7th September 2012. Applications can be downloaded from the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil and sent back via email, post or handed in at National Trust properties [3]

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments:

“We are really committed to helping kids enjoy the great outdoors and we want to make our places the most fun and family-friendly day out destinations in the UK. I’m really excited that our new Kids’ Council will help us do just that. Our kids go free promotion for the entire month of August will not only give kids and their families the chance to get out and explore, but hopefully inspire them to apply for our Kids’ Council and let us know what we can do better in the future.”

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For more information or interviews please contact the National Trust press office at Mischief on 020 3128 6600 or nationaltrust@mischiefpr.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Applications can be downloaded from the website at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil and sent back via email, post or handed in at National Trust properties.

About the Kids Go Free Promotion:

The National Trust is holding a Kids Go Free Promotion throughout the month of August. There will be a number of excluded properties, which will be detailed at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/augkidsfree  To enter a property all you need to do is show your Kids Go Free voucher which can be downloaded from the website.

[2] a maximum of 2 children ( aged between 5 – 16yrs) can visit free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult

About the Kids’ Council:

For more information and to download an application form visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil

Completed forms can be:

-         posted to 50 Things, National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN22NA

-         emailed to 50things@nationaltrust.org.uk

-          [3] handed in at a property participating in the Kids Go Free offer

Terms and conditions apply. See webpage for details.

About National Trust:

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Stuck for ideas on what to do with the family this summer? The nationwide ’50 Things’ campaign to help get children outdoors and closer to nature, which has seized the public’s imagination, now appears in a practical and handy book. Packed with things to do in the outdoors, the book will get you and your family off the sofa and parachute everyone into a whirl of activity in the fresh air. National Trust price £4.99 (RRP £5.99) Available 21 July. http://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/fiftythings

National Trust supports Play England’s Playday
Playday is the national day for play in the UK, a celebration of children’s right to play and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Playday 2012 is on 1 August and the campaign theme is Get out and play! The Get out and play! campaign is calling on everyone to help make sure that children and young people across the UK have the time, space and opportunity to play outdoors.

Join in the fun at www.playday.org.uk

Playday is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland.

50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4 – National Trust launches campaign to get children outdoors

The National Trust has today launched a nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to take to the outdoors and enjoy classic adventures from skimming stones to building dens.

The 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ initiative is in response to a report commissioned by the National Trust which highlighted research that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can’t ride a bike.*

The charity’s 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ campaign provides a checklist for under-12s (and those who are young at heart) including everything from running around in the rain and bug hunting, to setting up a snail race, damming a stream, flying a kite and making a (delicious) mud pie.

To help bring to life these simple pleasures, the Trust has formed a group of Elite Rangers who will share their expert tips on enjoying outdoor adventures and their enthusiasm for encouraging children to play alfresco.

The five rangers, all Trust staff, come from across the UK and range in age from 29 to 49. They include a 6ft 3” tree climbing expert, who has scaled 50 metre-high trees, (a.k.a. Tree Man), Captain Skim who can skim a stone over 26 times and Midas the treasure hunter. The other rangers are Den-Boy, an outdoor hideaway-building champion, and a minibeast expert (aka The Bug Catcher) who can name over 300 varieties of moth.

The fantastic five will be offering top tips on their chosen skill to the nation’s children over a Free Weekend (21st and 22nd April) when the National Trust will open up over 200 of its houses and gardens for free over the weekend, as well as all the countryside spaces it cares for, which are always free access.

Kids can pick up a free 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ scrapbook from participating properties – and start ticking off their outdoor adventures to do list. Plus, the fun can continue at home by visiting nationaltrust.org.uk/50things where children can fill in their completed activities and earn points towards their very own explorer badge.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments: “Our Elite Rangers are a fantastic bunch, with bags of enthusiasm for the outdoors and what it can offer kids. We’re hoping that the nation’s children will embrace the 50 things and start having their very own outdoor adventures with their family, with our Free Weekend the perfect opportunity to get outside in the fresh air.”

National Trust Elite Ranger Captain Skim, Mark Astley comments: “My top tips for stone skimming are to find some flat water, like a lake or sea on a calm day. Choose your stone carefully – the smoother, rounder and flatter the better. Next perfect your stance, bend your knees into a squat position with one foot in front of the other about a foot apart. Steady yourself by putting your non throwing arm in front of you and point your finger in the direction you want the stone to travel. Hold your stone throwing arm behind you and then bring forward – throw hard and low so it spins quickly across the top of the water. My personal best is 27 skims and I’m still trying to beat that. ”

The 50 Things to Do Before you’re 11 ¾:

1. Climb a tree

2. Roll down a really big hill

3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone

6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab

40. Go on a nature walk at night

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering

47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache

50. Canoe down a river

 

The National Trust Elite Rangers are:

1. Tree-Man, Des Cotton from York, Yorkshire, aged 38

2. Den Boy, Andrew Hunt from Dorset, aged 30

3. Captain Skim, Mark Astley from North West, aged 49

4. Midas, Nigel Stannett from Norwich, East of England, aged 29

5. The Bug Catcher, Laura Broadhurst from Bromsgrove, Midlands, aged 31

 

About the Free Weekend:

The National Trust is holding a Free Weekend over the 21-22nd April. There will be a number of excluded properties, which will be detailed at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/freeweekend. To enter a property all you need to do is show your Free Weekend voucher which can be downloaded from the website

Over 200 properties are taking part, in addition to the swathes countryside spaces The National Trust cares for which are always free access

 

About the National Trust Nature Childhood Report:

* Statistics from Natural England (2009) Childhood and Nature: a survey on changing relationships with nature across generations. http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/Childhood%20and%20Nature%20Survey_tcm6-10515.pdf

And Play England: August 2011 (a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can’t ride a bike)

The Trust has launched a two-month inquiry taking evidence from leading experts and the public to look at how we can reconnect this and future generations of children with the natural world.

The National Trust is working alongside Arla, the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and film-makers Green Lions, to organise a summit this summer to bring together a range of experts to develop a roadmap for reconnecting children and nature.

There are many ways that people can get involved in the inquiry. More information about the inquiry can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/naturalchildhood including details of how to contribute to the inquiry.

There will also be a twitter feed @outdoor_nation, where we will be using the hashtag #naturalchildhood to keep the debate and ideas flowing and an email address outdoor.nation@nationaltrust.org.uk. The inquiry will close on 25 May 2012.