Funding boost helps scores of children across Sussex enjoy a school trip to the great outdoors

The school trips and experiences are being made possible by the South Downs National Park Trust, the official charity of the National Park.

More than 1,400 disadvantaged young people will be able to enjoy an outdoor learning adventure this year, thanks to a new funding boost.

Schools from across the South East will be able to apply for grant support to help deliver fun educational experiences, such as hands-on conservation work, wildlife surveying, practical geography and geology, or learning ways to tackle climate change.

It comes after a new round of funding from the South Downs National Park Trust, which is the official independent charity of the National Park. The boost has been supported by AMEX and the Sussex Community Foundation.

The initiative builds on the success of the grants scheme last year as thousands of children enjoyed school trips to beautiful sites in the National Park or took part in fun nature-based activities in their school grounds.

Julie Fawcett, Chair of the South Downs National Park Trust, said: “We’re really excited to be able to provide funding once again for these vital school grants. School trips and outdoor learning are such an important part of growing up and learning more about the world.

“Yet research shows that travel costs are a significant barrier for planning school trips. We think every child deserves the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors and learn more about the natural world. Nature gives us everything – water, clean air, food – and it’s so important that young people are inspired by it as they are the future custodians of our amazing, but fragile, planet.”

Schools with more than 10 per cent of pupils eligible for Free School Meals can apply for support when planning trips up to the end of summer term 2022.

Schools will receive a grant up to £750 to support with the costs of travel and activities (£500 travel, £250 activity costs) when visiting a site or provider in the South Downs Learning Network, which is made up of over 100 learning providers across the region. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis.

Jonathan Dean, Education Officer for the National Park and who will be helping to deliver the scheme, said: “This fantastic initiative is all about helping young people discover the special qualities of the National Park, bringing their curriculum to life while also enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits of a deeper connection with nature.

“Outdoor education should be part of all young people’s learning and development, and understanding more about the natural world serves a wider purpose to inspire young people into future action and careers that support a green recovery.”

Children from Bartons Primary School, in Bognor Regis, enjoyed a trip to Marwell Zoo. School Secretary Debbie Camp said: “The grant made a huge difference to our families, especially during Covid times. Thank you for your support, it made such a difference to our families and it was so easy to apply for the grant.”

Meanwhile, pupils at Lyndhurst School, in Worthing, visited the Weald and Downland Living Museum for a school trip last October. Deputy Head Jo Halley said: “Although the cost for the venue and workshops themselves were very reasonable, the cost of coach travel to the venue would have meant that this trip would not have been possible without receipt of the grant.”




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