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FORESTRY COMMISSION SCOTLAND SUPPORTS NORTH LANARKSHIRE PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) Community Fund has contributed £15,000 to social enterprise Wildside Adventures for its North Lanarkshire Woodland Learning Project based at the new Kilsyth Woodland Centre based at Kilsyth Primary School.

The Community Fund provides the Woodland Learning Project with the funding it needs to support primary school teachers, pupils and support staff with outdoor learning and play activities based in the grounds and its 0.3 hectares of mature woodland. The community project will offer hands on, active and experiential learning and increase children’s experiences of problem solving, emotional literacy and independence by undertaking practical woodland activities, free play and curriculum learning outdoors.

Schools across North Lanarkshire have already booked out the first series of 6 CPD training sessions (only a few places left), and can book visits or outreach sessions in Forest School or Outdoor Learning in their own settings. Courses for schools across the Central Belt will be advertised soon. Teachers and support staff learn anything from woodland habitat, tool use, camp fire craft and ecosystem to woodland arts and crafts and how these can be used to deliver the Curriculum for Excellence and in particular support attainment.

Wildside Adventuresare also running a woodland work experience programme with local secondary schools to encourage pupils to share in woodland management and develop their awareness of future career opportunities.

Forestry Commission Scotland’s Community Fund aims to support community groups and organisations that encourages greater use of the woodlands to improve people’s health and wellbeing, as well as generate wider community benefits.

Hugh McNish, Social Programme Manager, Forestry Commission Scotland said:

“Forestry Commission Scotland was delighted to support the Woodland Learning Project. The project will further help develop teachers and support staffs outdoor learning and knowledge, and gives children the knowledge they need to feel comfortable in the woodlands.”

“The Community Fund provides a great deal of support for community groups and organisations that have a keen interest in how the outdoors and woodlands can positively impact on individuals and communities.  Our fund enables the creation of opportunities that may be just out of reach for some groups and projects due to financial issues.”

Judi Legg, Executive Director, Wildside Adventures said:

“Wildside Adventures specialise in Forest School education and outdoor learning dedicated to practical activity for children. The funding from Forestry Commission Scotland is invaluable, and has allowed us to dedicate more time to working directly with teachers, support staff and pupils and allowed more teachers and support staff to receive training.”

More information on the project can be found at www.wildside.scot

To find out more about the Community Fund go to: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/supporting/strategy-policy-guidance/communities/how-we-work-with-communities

Eligible applicants include community groups, voluntary groups, development trusts, social enterprises, charities and local authorities. Funding can support activities on the National Forest Estate.

Additional funding was contributed to the project by North Lanarkshire Council Education Service, Kilsyth Heritage Group and Kilsyth Primary Parent Council.