Skip to main content

Hands on programme provides young people in Cambridgeshire with unique learning opportunities

27 September 2023

Young people in Cambridgeshire have been getting hands on with bushcraft, obstacle courses and creating bug hotels as part of a programme designed to build their social skills, confidence, and wellbeing.

The pilot project is one of 17 currently planned by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of its Closer to Communities pledge outlined earlier in the year which aims to move decisions and services as close as possible to local people and communities.

Enabling Growth Outdoors is a programme which supports young people aged 10-18 who are not currently able to access full time mainstream education, by providing them with new opportunities and experiences through a unique learning environment embracing nature and the great outdoors.

Hosted at Wisbech Community Farm, the programme was delivered by Young People’s Workers from Cambridgeshire County Council’s Wisbech Targeted Support team, alongside colleagues from People and Animals UK.

The young people took part in six sessions over an eight-week period, where they learnt how to build communication skills, increase their positive mental health and wellbeing, and develop their self-esteem alongside other peers and professionals. Each session was themed around a different topic, which was explored through a range of interactive, team-building activities, including pizza making, and care for small and large animals.

The young people were supported by the team to enjoy activities and socialise in a safe environment, which also included exploring further opportunities for learning and employment outside of the programme. Some of the young people have now joined volunteering schemes and accredited courses at the farm following the programme.

The programme has received positive feedback from those who attended, with one young person saying “I think the project has been productive and it is a few hours each week to relax and have fun. I feel calmer when I come to the farm.” Another young person said that the programme “has helped me to overcome my fear of animals. I was scared of goats and sheep before I came, and I have now found out they are harmless.”

Enabling Growth Outdoors is one of the many pilot projects which has been chosen by the council to achieve its vision of creating a greener, fairer, and more caring Cambridgeshire. As part of the council’s plans to move decision making as close as possible to local people, the project involved distributing funding to the Targeted Support team to establish a programme based on the needs of local young people.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion committee said: “We want to put our communities at the heart of everything we do, and so one of our key ambitions is to ensure that children and young people in Cambridgeshire are provided with the opportunities to thrive.

“I am delighted to see that those who attended the programme at Wisbech Community Farm were able to develop and grow as young people and build skills for life through being closer to nature – this is just one way in which we are aiming to make Cambridgeshire greener, fairer and more caring by engaging with children who for whatever reason do not access mainstream education.”

Alongside Enabling Growth Outdoors, People and Animals UK run several other projects in the community to assist with rehabilitation, education and training, and routes back into employment. Find out more about Wisbech Community Farm by visiting the People and Animals UK website.