Churnet Youth project wins National Lottery support

Thursday 7th December 2017

Young people with learning difficulties are being given the opportunity to get close to nature and learn new skills at a project being run in the Churnet Valley, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

The ‘Churnet Youth’ project, which has been awarded a £26,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, will introduce the youngsters to wildlife and nature conservation through practical activities while learning a wide range of skills.

The partnership project between Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Leek College will initially be based at the Trust’s Rod Wood nature reserve which boasts a wide variety of habitats.

The college will identify groups of eight to 10 young people each term to participate in the project. Most of these young people will have mild to moderate learning difficulties and a college tutor will accompany the groups.

Skills they will learn during the project could include hedge laying and coppicing as well as developing existing skills in horticulture. They will create mini-films showing the benefits and highlights of getting involved in the project, with the aim of encouraging wider participation.

Shaun Rimmer, from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, will run the project. He said: “There are many well-documented benefits to increasing people's engagement in the natural environment. These include improving physical fitness, mental health and reducing stress levels. Young people will be able to take advantage of these benefits by engaging with this project.

“There will also be opportunity for social interaction with their peers; building confidence and self-esteem, and finding out more about the local natural heritage and how they can get involved in its conservation.”

The project will commence on Monday 18th December for one day per week during college term time.

For more information contact Shaun Rimmer at the Trust – s.rimmer@staffs-wildlife.org.uk