Over 2,000 local children and young people from under-represented communities will be getting close to nature, thanks to a grant from Staffordshire Freemasons to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The £57,000 grant will support Wildplay sessions for children from under-represented urban communities in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Stoke-on-Trent, including those in care, refugees, and those with special educational needs.

The Wildplay sessions will include creative play and crafting, exploring nature reserves, and taking part in a wide range of activities from pond dipping to natural crafts to wildlife identification. The children will benefit from spending time outside, and forming lifelong connections with nature.

This money will help children and their families, and potentially change their lives. They will receive personalised support, such as free transportation to nature reserves.

The Trust believes everyone should be able to access and enjoy nature, no matter where they live. Hundreds of children and young people will benefit over the course of the project, which begins in January 2024.

We’re very grateful to Staffordshire Freemasons for their generous grant. This funding will allow us to bring the benefits and joy of nature to so many children that may otherwise not get to spend time exploring our country’s wild spaces. Spending time outside can boost mental health – one study found that 95 per cent of those that took part in outdoor play saw improvements in just six weeks!

Louise Taylor, Wildchild Officer, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

I’m very please we’ve been able to help Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with this vital project. It’s a sad fact that many children grow up without regular access to nature and wild spaces. Outdoor activities, like those included in these Wildplay sessions, having many benefits. They will help children and young people to feel happier and healthier. It’s hugely important for these families that this essential project is supported.

John Lockley, Head of the Staffordshire Freemasons

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