£36k to get families in the great outdoors

An early morning view from Oakerthorpe to Higham.
An early morning view from Oakerthorpe to Higham.

A project that encourages Derbyshire families to embrace the outdoors has been made possible thanks to lottery funding.

The Play Wild scheme, which aims to get families from urban areas using green spaces, has been launched across the county with £36,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The project came about after research showed that many parents in towns and cities, don’t take their children to wild places such as fields and woods, often because they don’t know about them or aren’t confident about knowing what they could do there.

Play Wild events hosted by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and partner organisations, will focus on helping families in deprived areas in Chesterfield, Ilkeston and Derby with children under five – an age group reported as being underserved by suitable events in Derbyshire. Local children will also help to develop a Play Wild logo, which will be used to signpost areas where imaginative outdoor play is encouraged.

As part of the Play Wild project the University of Derby has received a £5,000 grant to measure the impact of the intervention and train the delivery staff in data collection. The project will be headed up by Dr Caroline Harvey and Dr Fiona Holland, who both lecture in psychology at the University of Derby.

Dr Holland said: “We are thrilled to be part of this project and value the applied nature of this project. Helping to support local organisations in gathering meaningful data is a great way to share our expertise and we are hoping the survey we have developed with the partners will be useful for them in the future.

“Families targeted had previously recognised barriers to playing outside with their children - they didn’t know where to find local green space, or what to do with their kids if they were there.”