Bringing families closer to nature
Families in Islington and neighbouring borough Camden are being offered the opportunity to take part in a 12-week nature project to bring children with special needs and disabilities and their families together and into the outdoors at a local park in Palmer Estate.
Funded by our Make It Happen fund, Paula Harvey founder of Urban Forest works closely with our team on the estate to run Forest School inspired sessions alongside Charlotte Pearson where children and their families are given the opportunity to engage in free play and explore the natural environment the park has to offer.
Palmer Park sessions
There are four to five activities at each session which are rotated between the children, including a mud kitchen and explorers station where they can use resources such as binoculars and magnifying glasses to discover the biodiversity of the park.
The sessions have proved popular with the families, they are in fact fully booked with parents and carers commenting how much more confident the children are and how they have enjoyed choosing the session dates.
Paula said: “It’s been so lovely getting to know each family and observing the children’s confidence grow week on week. The Palmer Park offers a wide range of sensory exploration for the children from its range of wooden play equipment, the secure space it provides to the resources following the children’s interests Charlotte and I provide each week, no session is ever the same. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from both the children, parents/carers and the local residents “Can I stay longer” is often heard when we gather together to sing the goodbye song. A common theme throughout the families is it’s great to attend a session which siblings can also attend, this they say is quite rare.”
Charlotte commented: “The park at the Palmer Estate has been an ideal location to run Forest School sessions for families. The site is secure and well looked after and provides a calm space to experience nature, with grassy slopes to run up and down and flowers, trees and bugs to explore. It has been wonderful to see the children grow in confidence each week - trying new activities as they got to know us and the space.”
Sahil Khan, our Director for Community Strategy, Partnerships & Funding, said: “The Make It Happen fund is easy to apply to and provides funding for diverse projects that bring the whole community together. Paula’s project is a great example of this, as it provides the whole family the opportunity to explore and have fun outdoors together.”
We work in partnership with Islington's Make It Happen Fund to provide grants up to £500 to residents, community groups and small organisations to deliver projects that will benefit the community including Peabody residents.