Outdoor education sector needs support to help children and families’ recover from Coronavirus

Outdoor education sector needs support to help children and families’ recover from Coronavirus. 

Following reports that Scotland’s outdoor education sector will not receive Government funding to see it through the coronavirus pandemic, Children 1st is encouraging families across the country to join the #saveyouroutdoorcentres campaign, because of the incredible benefits it offers children and young people’s mental health. 

Our short film “Family support in the wilderness” by film-maker Kelman Grieg-Kicks of Neon8 movingly captures the incredible impact of  our work with Ardroy outdoor education centre in Argyll and Bute to support young people and their families affected by anxiety and mental ill-health . Taking part in outdoor challenges, supporting each other through new experiences and being in nature together has led to long-term benefits in children and families’ relationships, improved their mental health and helped parents to better support their children to recover from difficult and traumatic experiences. 

Outdoor education centres, combined with a wider offer of family support,  can play an essential role in supporting children and families to recover from the impact of this terrible pandemic. And, for children whose families face the relentless challenges of poverty, trauma or mental ill-health outdoor education may be their only chance of introduction to the physical and emotional health benefits of the amazing wilderness which we have on our doorstep in Scotland.

As well as encouraging families to join the campaign, Children 1st have written directly to Deputy First Minister John Swinney to warn that leaving the sector to collapse would be a devastating blow for children and young people’s mental health and asking him to urgently review his decision.

Sign the petition here