The Waterproof and Wellies Project, part of The Outdoor Guide Foundation , is raising £5m to provide State Primary Schools with outdoor clothing & wellie boots to enable children to learn about and enjoy the outdoors. The project has just been launched by TV presenter Gemma Hunt from CBeebies. It aims to donate 10 Waterproof and Wellies kits to every state primary school in the UK. Gina Bradbury, MD of The Outdoor Guide, has negotiated with respected outdoor wear suppliers to provide these kits at a discounted price, which will be passed onto the schools.
Government figures show there are over 20,000 primary schools in the UK in which a number of families do not have easy access to the right gear to enjoy the outdoors.
These kits are available for purchase by parents from participating schools using a special code. You can also donate to the fund which will help provide other schools with Waterproof and Wellies kits.
TV presenter Gemma Hunt from CBeebies, mother of a four-year-old daughter and outdoor enthusiast, says, “I am thrilled to be supporting this and encouraging more children to get outside. The kits provide the basic gear that will allow children to have wonderful outdoor experiences when at school, whatever the weather!”
Four Acres Academy, Withywood, is the first school to benefit from the Waterproof & Wellies Project. Headteacher of Four Acres Academy, Matthew Cave said: “When we have taken learning outdoors we have seen amazing results – the children are engaged in the tasks, cooperate brilliantly and really enjoy this part of their curriculum. We’re delighted to be working with The Waterproof and Wellies Project, ensuring that all our children can experience the benefits of playing and learning in the great outdoors.”
As a parent this is a project which I am fully behind. I was lucky to grow up in Scotland with the beautiful outdoors on my doorstep and also spent a few years working for outdoors brand, Cotswold Outdoor where we would work together with kids taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award to provide them with kit at a discounted price. It was always good hearing back from them after their trips away and expeditions. However outdoor hobbies can be expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of replacing kit every year as kids grow in size. Outdoor hobbies is also seen as a very middle class thing due to the cost of everything involved. Many schools now offer outdoor learning at least once a week, however parents are still expected to pick up the cost for waterproof clothing.
The Waterproof and Wellies project is a great way to make the outdoors accessible to all kids and will benefit them not only physically, but mentally too. It has been well documented that being outdoors is great for mental health, and it is a good way to get the kids away from screens for a few hours.
Benefits of the outdoors for kids
- Fine motor skills
- Self awareness
- Increased concentration
- Hand-eye coordination
- Increases fitness levels
- Reduces anxiety
- Improves sleep
Child Poverty and access to outdoor hobbies also go hand in hand.
• In the United Kingdom in 2018-19 there were 4.2million children living below the poverty line
• That’s the equivalent of 9 children in every class of 30 children
• Children from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be in poverty – 46% are living in poverty compared to 26% of children in white British families
• 72% of children who are growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one person works