If you go down in the woods today … you will find out how thousands of children and adults from Leeds have already benefited from spending time outdoors at Skelton Grange Environment Centre, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery and National Grid.
Run by the charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), access2nature is a five year project working to improve the life prospects and wellbeing of people in Leeds, by providing a range of social, learning and volunteering opportunities in the natural environment.
The Conservation Volunteers team at Skelton Grange in Leeds has long recognised that looking after green places isn’t only about caring for nature, but about caring for people as well. Manager Caroline Crossley said
“We welcome thousands of people a year to take part in environmental education and play activities, and support adult trainees and volunteers to lead education sessions, conservation and biodiversity projects. This gives people the opportunity to share and learn new things, make friends, build confidence and develop skills for further training or employment.
“Very simply, we have the brilliant job of bringing together people of all ages in their local environment where they can make a real difference to their community.”
In the six months since access2nature started, TCV has had over 2,000 people visiting Skelton Grange with schools and other community groups as a part of the project. Children and adults have been learning about nature, bushcraft skills, being active outdoors and volunteering to help look after the site full of ponds, woodlands and wildlife. People taking part have said they feel happier, more confident and healthier outdoors than they did before and understand more about what they can do to look after their environment.
Sir David Attenborough, the charity’s Vice-President said:
“The Conservation Volunteers are the unsung heroes of the environment …no one will protect what they do not first care about”