Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Inspero would like to set up an affordable Forest School for local children aged 5 upwards, including those with special needs. The project will transform their physical and mental health, enabling them to develop crucial life skills to thrive.

Based in a woodland setting, Forest School is an innovative approach to children’s holistic development through positive, fun outdoor experiences. It works with children for an extended period to develop physical and emotional skills, enhancing self-esteem. In a world where children spend increasing time inside with technology, the need for this programme is growing. This modern trend is having drastic effects on young people’s physical and mental health, as well as key life skills in socialising, problem solving, concentration and creativity. A lack of vitamin D leads to various health conditions, children are not in touch with nature and environmental conservation and are physically inactive, causing problems such as obesity.

“Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations… limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development…resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent negative impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy… Today’s young are entering school struggling with self-regulation and attention skills necessary for learning” Rowan, Huffpost, 2013.

Forest School is child-led, inspiring children to enjoy the outdoors whilst learning critical skills and qualities. It’s tailored to individual need, learning styles and abilities. It inspires learning without boundaries, fostering a sense of freedom and trust. Through a range of activities including den building, campfires, craft, cookery and games, children learn to manage risk, use initiative, problem solve and work with others. It encourages children to get outside, be active and learn about the natural world, helping to develop motor skills, concentration, language, respect, and the freedom to explore using multiple senses. It helps develop self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social and communication skills, independence, resilience, understanding of rules/boundaries and a positive mental attitude – all crucial qualities to be healthy well-rounded citizens. This approach is particularly effective for children who are not suited to the classroom (Forest School Training). “Young children construct their knowledge best through active, engaged, meaningful experiences that provide interaction with their environments and others.’ Helm & Gronlund, 1999.

Inspero is delivering Taster Forest School classes currently as a pilot project with staff running this voluntarily. This has been hugely over-subscribed and successful. Words used to describe the classes by children include: ‘brilliant’, ‘fun’, ‘excellent’, ‘fantastic’. Children became so engrossed they didn’t want sessions to end.

Inspero is a small local charity that has been delivering children’s healthy lifestyles programmes for 5 years. It has a wealth of knowledge and experience working with the local community. Inspero works primarily with disadvantaged areas of Basingstoke. As such, parents will be asked for a small donation towards sessions if they can afford it, but this is heavily reduced compared to other similar services (£4 compared to £15-£20). This often means they work with families who most need the activities and who would otherwise not afford or benefit from them.

Funding would enable the remaining volunteers to be trained and for the project to be rolled out to help more children. Children will take part in a minimum of 6 sessions, each lasting 3 hours and including a healthy snack. Please vote for this project to transform the physical and mental health of 80 children, helping them to thrive and develop into happy and healthy functioning citizens


Inspero takes a unique approach to health and wellbeing. We are all local people with a great willingness to make a difference to children's lives for the better. We are so excited about offering this Forest School for local children as we know they will love it!

Location: Basingstoke, United Kingdom