Our Greenability Conference 2014 was the first event of its kind in Scotland. Bringing together organisations from disability and environmental sectors the aim of the conference was to increase access to nature for people with a disability. The conference showcased the evidence that many of us know already: that being close nature makes us feel better – both mentally and physically.
Over 130 people attended the Conference at Donaldson's School, Linlithgow. The Greenability delegates heard from a range of speakers including Sarah Boyack, MSP, and Julie McElroy, a remarkable young woman who hasn't allowed her own disability to prevent her from undertaking an incredible range of outdoor adventures. The delegates also participated in a range of outdoor workshops in the school grounds covering topics such as planting activities, natural play and games, outdoor cooking, and using our senses to explore the environment around us. The Autumnal weather just about behaved itself and everyone came away from the conference brimming with ideas, inspiration and most importantly, valuable new contacts with which to work in partnership in the future.
We see the Greenability conference as a place where we start to build relationships between those working in the environmental and disability sectors. TCV Scotland will be providing public training opportunities over the winter months and beyond with Sense Scotland and RNIB (watch our website!) which will focus on sensory awareness training and sighted guiding. Between December and March 2015 we will be promoting four themed Mini Greenability workshops which will reflect popular and requested activities around engaging people with disabilities in the outdoors.
This series will be accompanied by a resource pack which will include useful websites, activities, books and information relevant to developing outdoor activities. In addition we will be building on the partnerships and activities we have been exploring with key organisations including ENABLE, RNIB, Cornerstone, Visibility Scotland and find new partners to develop our range of opportunities which include nature play, forest skills and nature recording. We believe that everyone regardless of age, background or disability should have access to nature and the outdoors and we are committed to finding a range of ways to remove barriers (real and perceived) to engagement and enjoyment of the outdoors. If you are interested in working with us or in having TCV deliver activities for your group do please get in touch with Julia Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss.