Hundreds of children and young vulnerable people have kept active and safe outdoors during Covid 19 lockdown, with the help of services from Dorset Council’s Outdoor Education Service.
During the last three months, they have been welcoming small groups to the four centres across the county working with local schools to run activities for children of key workers and vulnerable young people.
Lessons in rock climbing, bushcraft, orienteering and caving has taken place during the lockdown at Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre, helping to build confidence and developing social skills whilst maintaining social distancing.
They’ve also had a chance to try orienteering, pond studies, shelter building and safe fire lighting at , Leeson House, who have also been keeping young minds occupied through Google Classroom and giving families ideas for activities outdoors. You can see their recent work on films on YouTube
The Ancient Technology Centre and Carey Outdoor Education Centre have also kept youngsters busy making fairy wands, minibeast hunts, flower collages and building shelters.
Artz + Sportz+ (a project managed by the Cultural Development Unit at Dorset Council) spent May half term with the Outdoor Education centres enjoying arts and sports activities with groups of children and young people who are disabled.
Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Years, said: “Being outside in nature is so important for our mental wellbeing. By offering fun outdoor activities for children and young people, keeping them occupied and learning new skills, we have also been able to provide a bit of respite for families in lockdown. By keeping the groups nice and small, or often working one-to-one, we have been able to maintain Government guidelines on social distancing.
“The Outdoor Education Centres are also responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE)Awards and I am proud of the young people who are working towards their Award during this crisis. Some have joined their community volunteer teams, others taken on the mentoring of younger siblings or simply stepped up to help their families cope at home.
“As lockdown measures are gradually eased, we are working to expand the offer from the Dorset Outdoor Education services for more young people to enjoy in the near future and ensure Dofe trips goes ahead as planned.”