18% of British children don’t play outdoors – M&S and Avon Wildlife Trust to create outdoor classroom

Wednesday 8th June 2016

A shocking 74% of British children spend less time outdoors than prisoners – that is less than one hour per day.

Local wildlife charity Avon Wildlife Trust is changing that for children across Bristol. Thanks to the M&S Spark Something Good campaign, volunteers will create a special outdoor learning space at Avon Wildlife Trust’s ‘Feed Bristol’ site in Frenchay. The ‘classroom’ will be used by children from across the region to learn how to grow food in a wildlife-friendly way.

“Feed Bristol is stunning at this time of year,” says Project Manager Matt Cracknell, “Bees and butterflies are buzzing all over the brightly coloured wildflowers. It sounds and smells amazing and is a wonderful place for children to learn about nature”.

Over 100 M&S employees will get involved in volunteering projects across Bristol as part of Spark Something Good and Bristol residents can get involved too. At Feed Bristol on 17th June volunteers will dig a wildlife pond and develop a forest garden area which will be used by children for outdoor forest school sessions where they can learn about local wildlife. A huge willow hedgehog sculpture will be added to the garden too!

“Helping our young generation to understand the wonder and value of nature has never been more important,” says Julie Doherty, Volunteer Manager at Avon Wildlife Trust. A recent report showed that less than 50% of British children can identify Britain's best-loved tree, the oak – but 80% can identify the pop singer Justin Bieber.

Rob Bailey, Store Manager at Marks & Spencer Bristol Broadmead, said: “It was difficult to choose just 24 projects for Spark Something Good but we have some really worthy causes on board. With M&S employees and the Bristol community working together to volunteer with organisations that really matter, we know we can achieve something great.”

Another of the 24 Bristol projects involves creating an inspirational 200 metre river using chalk to flow through the Festival of Nature 2016 on Saturday 11 June.

Sign up to volunteer for the Feed Bristol day or one of the many other opportunities as part of Spark Something Good project online at www.neighbourly.com/mandsvolunteer or by calling 0117 915 1279.