We all know children have got a lot of catching up to do. Not the heads in a book/computer screen type, but the get-out-in-the-fresh-air-and run-round-like-crazy kind. The garden and surrounding woods are the perfect place to do this, so we held our first Easter camp.

We only offer these schemes to Moulsecoomb Primary children because it is where we have worked for nearly twenty years. It’s where we have built relationships and where we feel as a small charity we can make a bigger impact. Infact the first children that came to the garden all those years ago are now sending their kids! One of our 18 year old helpers used to come up when she was at Moulsecoomb.

We love working at the school and know that it shouldn’t be defined by its make up and geography but by the fact that it is an amazing place that somehow manages to support all its pupils despite a restrictive education system and eye watering budget cuts. But it’s worth noting the percentage of children entitled to free school meals is currently 53% (national average 17%) while 27% have special educational needs. We know our work can compliment and help everyone but especially those that struggle in the classroom and learn more by doing practical tasks.

We couldn’t accept the government/council restrictions on funding and so thanks to the wonderful Pebble Trust we were able to offer this all for free. This also means we can be flexible in our approach on who we support putting children and their families first, rather than some computer-says-no form.

Moulsecoomb and the surrounding areas might not be the bright lights of Brighton but it is blessed with space and its great to see the kids exploring, making camps, discovering newts for the first time. We have organised activities but also just let them play and leg it up and down the garden when they want to. They have all been missing the school chickens so Mark bought them to the garden. They are so used to children they sit on their laps and their heads!

One parent told us “My 7 year old daughter attended Forest School this week and absolutely loved it!! At first she was nervous and reluctant to leave me but by the end of her 1st session she couldn’t wait to go back!! She has told me her favourite activities were making dens and cooking pizzas in the ‘real’ outdoor pizza oven!! I would recommend Forrest School to any primary school aged child for brilliant outdoor fun, building confidence and making friends.”

While another said “From a parents point of view, I think the project is amazing and am so thankful it has been able to run despite the pandemic. Being a mum to a child with additional needs and a young carer being able to access projects like these which tap into both children’s abilities and needs is actually a lifeline. The activities they can access are fantastic and to listen to them talk about their day with so much enthusiasm speaks volumes about the project and the volunteers who put always put in so much effort with them. I can’t thank them enough.”

Next up – summer camp