A cold, crisp day at Lydiard Park, Swindon, was the setting for The Conservation Volunteers ‘Young Carers Nature Challenge’ Celebration Day.
Aside from making bug houses and bird feeders, and following a woodland trail in search of Easter eggs, the highlight of the day was the unveiling of the interpretation board, designed by the young carers, by the Mayor of Swindon, Cllr Mick Bray.
The Young Carers Nature Challenge is part of the Access to Nature grant scheme managed by Natural England with funds from the Big Lottery Fund. The TCV led project aims to give young carers respite from their caring responsibilities by taking them outdoors and engaging them in fun, nature based activities and practical conservation projects. It also gives them the opportunity to meet other young people with shared experiences, whilst boosting their confidence and encouraging them to take part in new challenges.
When asked if she thought the children had benefitted from the project, Helen Rankin of Swindon Carers Centre said:
“Definitely! … They have developed valuable life skills and shown their developing knowledge of nature. It’s a great initiative.”
The project has been running for two years, and in this time 500 young carers and their families have participated in 130 conservation activity days, working and playing on over 40 different sites in Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol and BaNES. Sadly, the project has now come to an end but we have NOT given up looking for more funding opportunities!