A scheme that has given thousands of disadvantaged school children easy access to nature has been shortlisted for an award.
WWT and HSBC’s ‘Inspiring Generations’ programme which aims to give pupils from poorer backgrounds the chance to experience nature has been nominated in the ‘Charity Partnership: Financial’ category at the Third Sectors Business Charity Awards.
Free school visits, new school resources, and building the infrastructure around school visits are at the heart of the project, which has been a huge success over the past five years.
Over 68,000 pupils in the most deprived areas of the UK have benefitted from free school visits to WWT Wetland Centres since Inspiring Generations was launched. For many of these young people, this is a rare opportunity to learn about, and spend time in nature.
Lorna Fox, WWT’s Learning Advisor, welcomed the news. She said:
“This partnership has been so successful that we have been able to go above and beyond our original project objectives. We have produced research which is contributing to the national conversation about the value of outdoor learning, and we have made strides to improve school visits for children from deprived communities, as well as focusing on those with special educational needs and disabilities.’
“Our long-term partnership has been further cemented by our volunteering programme: In 2017, 318 HSBC volunteers carried out valuable practical conservation tasks at WWT centres.”
Nick Appleby, Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager at WWT, added:
“HSBC and WWT have worked together for over a decade. We share the belief that wetlands are vital for both people and wildlife. They clean our water, protect us from flooding and provide us with food and materials. Wetlands store more carbon in their soil than rainforests, and 100,000 species of animal rely on freshwater ecosystems. They are also valuable for our health and wellbeing.
Children who spend regular time in nature are more likely to become environmentally conscious adults, which is essential if we are to protect and restore the UK’s vital wetlands, which have reduced by 90% in the past 400 years. Children from deprived backgrounds are far less likely to spend time in inspiring natural places; when they are given the opportunity, it has a particularly positive impact.
Inspiring Generations is a six year programme, fully funded by HSBC.
Winners will be announced on May 23.