Throughout the whole project wellbeing has been a focus threading across all the sessions to young people the opportunities to learn about and experience the health benefits of nature, habitats, conservation, and connecting with wildlife.
Read about our projects helping to improve young people's wellbeing
“Michael, I’m calling this one Michael.” Another surprisingly sensible yet clearly significant name given by a child to a wild creature, in this case a froglet. There are hundreds of these tiny baby frogs in the long grass around the larger of two ponds in the grounds of Orchard School in North Bristol. The larger pond is always full and as such a haven for wildlife.
The very fact that ‘Michael’ lives in his school grounds is a revelation to this recently enrolled nature enthusiast and this naming process is an important step in connecting with nature.
In all honesty who really worries about all those nameless frogs, whether they find somewhere to live, if some predator will eat them, if their habitat is mown up? Michael on the other hand now has a champion! Orchard’s new Nature Knight is now out checking out the pond most days in his lunch time and before school. While he is predominantly looking out for his one froglet he is inadvertently connecting with nature right on his doorstep and this interest will only grow as he understands habitats and food chains and connects them all to his first wildlife chum, Michael.
Weaving for Wellbeing
Over the project we have run bespoke wellbeing sessions including some sessions for young volunteers with the highlight being a wellbeing weaving session where the group could slow down and create a sheepskin mat. The heritage craft, which formed the main part of the session, was very popular, the young people became engrossed in the peg loom weaving , swapping colours, creating elaborate patterns and showing immense pride in their creations. One young person was going to gift his sit mat to his mum, another was adamant she would keep it out of the weather to protect it.
Our Bright Future was able to work in partnership with Winston’s Wish a bereavement charity, where families took part in an "Exploring Nature and Grief Together" day to build up connections between families through their shared experiences. Within a surprisingly short space of time everyone could feel the difference and a lightness of mood which allowed people to have the relaxed space and time to explore and talk about their feelings. The feedback from both staff and participants was highly positive, with one staff member shocked by how quickly people had felt comfortable and able to open up about their feelings.
For most of them it did really engage them and they looked forward to it. It was a chance for them to feel successful doing something that was specifically for them as they constantly struggle with academic work and classroom expectations. There were a couple of pupils in the group who really struggle with confidence but they were engaged and more importantly they were communicating with the rest of the group. For all but one I would say it had a positive impact on how they viewed school and gave their confidence a boost.