"Without this grant the project simply couldn’t have happened."
Young people with mental health difficulties in Leicester now have the chance to take part in outdoor learning designed to boost self-esteem after Leicester education charity Enstruct Training secured a £9,000 grant from the Wesleyan Foundation.
The grant has enabled Enstruct Training to offer 13 students from 6 local schools fully-funded places on its forest school, which encourages children to develop their confidence through hands-on interaction with the natural environment.
Jane Gadsby, Headteacher at Stokes Wood Primary School said: “When I was first approached about sending pupils to the forest school activity programme, it seemed almost too good to be true.
“They were willing to take some of our most vulnerable children, pick them up, deliver the sessions and all fully funded! I immediately took up the opportunity.
“These projects are essential. We’ve seen improved confidence, self-esteem, motor skills, communication and social skills in the children.”
Bethan Painter, Environmental Department Manager at Enstruct, said: “Without this grant the project simply couldn’t have happened.
“Although school staff care deeply about their pupils’ mental wellbeing and understand the benefits of forest activities, they often lack the necessary budget to provide programmes.
“There was, at the time of the project, no single-referral forest school provision in Leicestershire and this funding has enabled schools to send the pupils who would benefit most.”
Caroline Hill, Chief People & Strategy Officer at Wesleyan said: “Enstruct provides really valuable support to the education and personal development of young people across the East Midlands, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to hear of the positive impact that its forest school programmes have had on those who have taken part.”
Enstruct Training works with young people who have faced difficulties in other educational settings to offer a range of alternative learning programmes, including accredited courses in construction skills and environment and conservation skills, as well as forest school and other outdoor learning programmes. The charity aims to adopt an approach tailored to each learner’s specific needs.
The Wesleyan Foundation was launched in June 2017 by specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan and has already provided more than £1 million in funding to more than 300 charities, community groups and social enterprises around the country.