Bringing Nature to Disadvantaged Young People

Access and reliance on nature and natural spaces has become more important than ever, with the National Park seeing a rise in people accessing the Park last summer. Despite that, some children in the region have difficulty accessing nature and the outdoors for their wellbeing, which has only been further hindered by the isolation caused by the pandemic.

In collaboration with the National Park, North East Wilds have created 100 activity boxes that were sent to selected children across the region, including the West End of Newcastle, Gateshead, and Haltwhistle. The boxes are designed to help children use their imaginations to connect with nature, with items including Northumberland meadow seeds, star bird feeders, a mobile curlew, a woodcut printmaking kit, grow your own Basil set, a jigsaw, and make your own Boggart kit.

Northumberland National Park Engagement Officer, Caroline Cope said: “We fully understand the role that the Park and the outdoors plays in improving our physical and mental wellbeing. Everybody deserves access to our unique landscapes and nature.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with North East Wilds to inspire the region’s younger generation through nature and we are keen to help those who can’t regularly access the Park to connect them with the natural world in any way we can.”

North East Wilds Project Coordinator, Bryony Jones said: “We are so excited to have the National Park on board for this project. Like everyone, we’ve fallen victim to the pandemic and have had to adapt to the times when it comes to helping our young people connect with the outdoors.

“These activity boxes are the first step in providing a taste of what nature has to offer when things return to normal and how it can be of a great benefit to their physical and mental wellbeing.”

North East Wilds is a non-profit organisation based in Newcastle upon Tyne, helping people access nature and the outdoors to improve wellbeing. The organisation specialises in woodland wellbeing programmes, gardening, and food growing projects – but the pandemic has meant that they have had to adapt their work to bring nature into the home.