If you go down to the woods today, you could be in for a big surprise – a new project to help Croydon’s unemployed teenagers and young people to acquire the sort of life skills which will help them into work through nature-based learning in local green spaces.
Into the Wild is a personal development programme from local venture Wild in the City, which aims to give 16-to-25-year-olds who are “NEETS” – not in education, employment or training – the opportunity to gain skills in bush craft, conservation, leadership and wildlife tracking across 60 acres of forest in Frylands Wood, the outdoors Scouts centre on Featherbed Lane.
According to recent research, three-quarters of children in this country now spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.
Into the Wild aims to encourage young people to use nature to improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
“Nature is a wonderful teacher,” Beth Collier, the founder of Wild in the City, said. “Into the Wild introduces young people to the health benefits of spending time in nature and encourages reflection on life choices.”
Collier also wants to promote Croydon’s green spaces. “If we were to judge boroughs by their green spaces, Croydon is one of the richest boroughs in London.
“We have huge opportunities in Croydon to use nature to tackle our high levels of deprivation. If young people value nature, communities will prioritise green spaces as urban areas evolve.”
Into the Wild weekly sessions will run on Thursdays in Frylands Wood from 11am to 3pm from June 23.
Wild in the City will be promoting its project today at Park Hill recreation ground and at the Love Lane Big Lunch in South Norwood on June 12, encouraging local communities to engage with nature on their doorstep.
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