2018 REVIEW OF THE YEAR
18th December 2018
Its been another busy year at Get Out More with new staff, expanding projects and increased numbers of people getting out more with us. We’ve experienced all weathers, from a very soggy winter, to heavy snow from the Beast from the East to a long hot record-breaking summer. It shows that with the right clothes and enthusiasm, there are no barriers to everyone feeling the benefits of getting closer to nature.
Here are some of our 2018 highlights:
|Our regular sessions with students from Broadbeck Learning Centre continued throughout the winter. Broadbeck is a therapeutic, education and care facility which caters for children with a diverse range of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Students have responded well to the adventurous learning outside of the four walls of the classroom.
|Thanks to funding from social enterprise Enable 2, in February we worked with Barnardos’ Stronger Families project with a series of wellbeing walks exploring Bradford beauty spots. Participants felt the benefits of being in nature during the winter months, getting fresh air and meeting new people.
|It had already been a wet cold winter, but as we headed towards spring, the Beast from the East brought us a huge dump of snow. Our hardy participants at the Wild Woods Club Saturday sessions in Keighley enjoyed sledging, snowman building competitions, mud slides and a chocolate fondue over the campfire! We were sorry to say goodbye to Viky Sutcliffe (pictured here) who had worked on this project for a year.
|We were delighted to welcome three news new staff members to the team in April. Sam Colman and Lizzie Lee joined us as Forest School Practitioners on our Better Start Bradford and Keighley Big Local projects. Julia Babbitt came on board as Project Support to cover Lauren’s maternity leave. (Lauren’s beautiful baby Otis arrived safely in April too.)
|With our new practitioners ready to go, we ran our first Forest School Play Project Sessions for Better Start Bradford. This marked the start of a 3 year programme and research project which will see us working with 33 nurseries in Bradford. The 3 year olds are loving visiting their local parks and woodlands to climb trees, build dens, walk barefoot and get involved in lots of imaginative play.
|June was the month of #30dayswild, a Wildlife Trust initiative to get people connecting with nature on a daily basis. We took up the challenge as a business and incorporated lots more nature into our working lives, including our board away day in the woods at St Ives. We welcomed John Hamilton as our new Chair of the Board of Directors and had fun discussing key issues around a log circle rather than a board room table.
|We returned to the Great Yorkshire Show again this year, where hundreds of children and their families got involved in wood craft. They sawed, drilled and decorated their wooden badges, with all generations joining in. We even had football themed badges to support England as the country went World Cup crazy!
|We had a busy summer running our summer holiday forest school programme in woods across Yorkshire and a non-stop summer scheme in Keighley. The sun shone for pop up play events, forest schools and family trips. Although fires were banned at many of our sites due to the dry hot weather, this didn’t stop the adventures, creativity and fun!
|Woodland heritage was the theme for 2 forest schools in the autumn term. Parkwood Primary Forest School and Ben Rhydding Primary learnt all about tree folklore, charcoal burning, pottery and prehistoric carving through some very hands-on learning in the woods, thanks to funding from the lottery via Pennine Prospects’s Celebrating Woodland Heritage project.
|Our All for Play team ran a series of October Half term activities including a very popular Halloween event. Children from the Keighley Big Local area hollowed pumpkins, made Halloween crafts and had their faces painted. The fun continued with more spooky activities in the woods at dusk.
|Entries came flooding in from schools for our competition to win a forest school day for a whole class. We asked children to submit poems or artwork inspired by the book ‘The Lost Words’We are proud to have donated copies of the book to 40 schools in Keighley and Bradford this autumn, part of a grass roots campaign to get the book into every school in the country. It was extremely hard to choose, but congratulations to our winners Steeton and Oakworth Primaries.
|Get Out More staff and board rounded off the year with a Christmas party in a teepee, where we huddled around the campfire (busman’s holiday?!) to reflect on the achievements of the year and look forward to 2019. Congratulations to forest school practitioners Lizzie Lee and Sam Colman who jointly won Get Out More’s Star of the Year award.
Once again, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone we have worked with, played with, learned with and explored with over the year – we can’t do it without you.
Here’s to a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hope to see you in 2019!