Children and young people in Brent reported feeling happier, healthier and more engaged in science topics after spending time participating in outdoor activities run by an environmental initiative called Brent Goes Wild.
The initiative, provided by Young Brent Foundation and led by environmental charity Thames21 and partners on the ground, saw children and young people from the borough take part in outdoor activities such as identifying insects and trees in their local park or at the Welsh Harp Education Centre and Welsh Harp Open Space.
Children completed surveys before and after these outdoor activities.
Thames21 research found that following the outdoor activities, 90% of children felt happier in parks our out in nature, compared to 22% before the initiative took place. The majority of children also believed that they were better at science and more interested in the topic than before the programme.
After their activities, 90% of children said they cared more about the environment and 86% said they were more active.
Brent Goes Wild is a partnership, which ran from last year and finishes at the end of March, enabling children and young people aged 6-14, from backgrounds currently under-represented in science and natural heritage, to discover for themselves their innate capabilities for curiosity and experimentation and build their confidence.
The programme aims to provide young people with the chance to explore aspects of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in less formal settings with the intent to ignite new interest and/or raise attainment in STEM whilst improving their wellbeing.
The project brings together organisations with existing best practice approaches in developing confidence, skills, and resilience and preventing risky behaviours for vulnerable young people.
Jemima Morris, Brent Goes Wild Project Manager, Young Brent Foundation said: “The Brent Goes Wild project has been a great success in inspiring children and young people to enjoy STEM activities. Over 250 young people in Brent were engaged in nature-based activities, exploring the green spaces on their doorstep, learning about environmental issues and growing fruit and vegetables. We hope to continue our partnership with Thames21 to offer more young people in Brent the opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the Welsh Harp, parks and open spaces.”
Commenting on the programme Debra Frankiewicz, Education Officer at Thames21, said: “The Brent Goes Wild project has been a great influence on young people in Brent who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity for these types of experiences or learning in STEM topics. Many children have never even been to a woodland before! The activities inspired them to become more engaged with their local environment, to pick up a worm and study and care for it and also increase their activity and engagement with the outdoors having a great impact on their mental health and wellbeing.”
Thames21 connects people with rivers by putting healthy rivers back at the heart of everyday life. We improve and restore rivers, educate and empower the community and campaign for positive change for the good of people and the environment. To learn more, visit www.thames21.org.uk
About Young Brent Foundation
Young Brent Foundation’s aim is to create an evidence based, needs led community partnership model that unites a diverse voluntary youth sector, and creates a strong united voice, equipping members with the training, resources and financial support they need to increase overall capacity and develop a more sustainable future to benefit young people. As enablers and facilitators, we work alongside members and deliver a wide range of capacity building focused activities. To learn more, visit https://youngbrentfoundation.org.uk/about-us