Young people benefit from learning outdoors

Some of the young people with Leading Link chief executive Lyn Horton and Tracy Bruce, project manager from Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
Some of the young people with Leading Link chief executive Lyn Horton and Tracy Bruce, project manager from Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

A project is going off the grid to show young people the benefits of physical activity and the great outdoors.

The initiative, led by Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s integrated health and wellbeing team alongside Off the Grid CIC and Leading Link, is being funded by Northumberland Sport.

A group of young people aged 15 to 17 from St Benet Biscop High School in Bedlington were given the chance to spend time outside as they lived sedentary lives.

The aim was to get the young people more physically active using different methods of engagement, helping build key life skills and confidence while being active.

The programme offered activities including orienteering and fire making, cooking over an open fire and trying less common types of meat such as kangaroo, wild boar, alligator, pigeon and venison, plus overnight hammock camps.

NHS officials also used subliminal health messages about protein and composite foods.

Sessions took place at Plessey Woods and Druridge Bay country parks, the school campus and at Leading Link’s main base of operations, The Lodge.

Due to the project’s success, ten gained the John Muir Environmental Award and the V Inspired V50 Volunteering Award.

Paul Kirkpatrick, project lead, said: “Working with Northumberland Sport on this project has been a great experience for all involved. The young people have really enjoyed the sessions and all are interested in doing more exercise and activities.”

As a result of links that Off The Grid has, the majority of the group has recently progressed to do street games leader training, organised by Northumberland Sport, which will enable them to go on and deliver summer activities for other groups.