Thanks to a £2.5m Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant, young people across the UK are to be given the opportunity to connect with nature through new jobs, volunteering roles, training, and learning experiences.
The grant has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). It will benefit organisations including The Outward Bound Trust, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council and the 10 English National Parks.
The ambitious Generation Green project is due to last 16 months and will prioritise young people from BAME groups, coastal communities and disadvantaged backgrounds. The scheme will retain 20 jobs and create 10 new ones. It will also provide one paid internship, 30 Kickstart placements, 7 apprenticeships, and 659 skilled volunteer roles in the outdoor sector.
By connecting marginalised young people to nature and the outdoors for the first time, Generation Green hopes to spark them to pursue a career in the outdoor sector.
The scheme has been welcomed by Scouts and Girlguiding:
Matt Hyde, Chief Executive of the Scouts said: “Scouts have always valued and fought to protect our environment. Connecting young people with nature is part of our DNA. The Green Recovery Fund will help us train 8,000 young people to be Green Leaders in their local community, inspiring a generation to take the outdoors and all it has to offer seriously.”
Angela Salt, Girlguiding CEO said: “Getting back into the outdoors together will be important for our members when COVID restrictions allow.
“It will enable Girlguiding to boost our outdoors training for volunteers, widen access to our campsites, and inspire more girls and young women to deepen their connection to nature and the outdoors. At a time when young people are facing many challenges, enabling adventures outdoors is vital to supporting their wellbeing.”
Chief Executive of The Outward Bound Trust, Nick Barrett, concluded: “Generation Green will help young people develop the resilience to meet the challenges caused by COVID-19 head-on. Connection to, and immersion in, nature is vital to wellbeing. Adventure in nature helps build self-belief and optimism.
“This funding will be transformational, not only in introducing thousands of young people to all that the outdoors has to offer but in opening pathways to employment in the outdoor sector for disadvantaged and marginalised groups across the UK.”