The FUN project (Families United through Nature) is providing opportunities for families who need support, confidence building and ideas to get outdoors with their children to benefit from the health and wellbeing opportunities of the natural environment. Being outdoors is good for both physical and mental health, and the project’s activities aim to promote and encourage family time and communication between parents and children as well as introduce children to the wonders and importance of our natural world.
For Easter this year 7 FUN family activity sessions were run at Minehead, Watchet, Williton, and Dulverton and in Exmoor National Park at the Field Studies Council’s Nettlecombe Court. 80 parents and children attended. Activities included talking about insects and pollination and planting giant sunflowers, making bird feeders, stream and woodland activities.
Comments from some of the days included: “If we weren’t here my son would be talking about computers and xbox games all the time.” “Really enjoyed ourselves, wish we could be here for longer”
“I didn’t know this woodland area was here …will come again and bring a picnic”
“The session was relaxed, friendly and the team were on hand with information about the mini beasts which made it really interesting………the mini bus was as much part of the adventure as the outdoor pursuits”
“Great to have an activity on indoors over easter on a wet day – needed to get the kids out and they’ve learned something new today too (how to plant a sunflower for the pollinating insects)
The FUN project has a number of networks developing including with Homestart, the Health Visitors, toddler groups and school support staff. These contacts are able to encourage families who are needing some additional support to come along to the FUN activities, before we open up places to a wider audience.
4 May half term sessions are happening the week of 27th May and a summer programme is in development. Lucy McQuillan, FUN Project Coordinator has met up with the wonderful CLOWNS Community Coordinator, Suzanne Richards, whose role includes coordinating activities for families in West Somerset to provide lots of opportunities for children and their families to enjoy spending time together and enrich and support parents.