A team of young people are spending part of their summer raising money to help a not-for-profit social enterprise stage free Forest School and community activities for children and families in deprived areas of Huddersfield.
The 15-strong group of 15 and 16-year-olds – known as the Team Blazing Squad – are working with Nature’s Footprints as part of their National Citizens Service and hope to raise about £1,000 that will help fund future projects.
The group joined Nature’s Footprints at Beaumont Park for a Forest School session to meet some of the youngsters who attend the sessions, do some research – and explore what it’s like to pay.
Jo Liversidge, managing director of Nature’s Footprints, said: “They showed us that they completely understand what we do and why we do it and impressed us with their energy, enthusiasm, ideas and teamwork.
“A thousand pounds will make a huge difference to us as it would fund two two-hour Forest School sessions for four to eight-year-olds and one four-hour Forest School session for eight to 12-year-olds, working with 60 local children. It would also allow us to buy some essential kit such as tarpaulins, water carriers or fire bowls.
‘Recent local funding and budget cuts and restructuring have hit us hard and after five years’ of being able to offer up to 1,500 free places a year at our Holiday Forest School sessions, we’re having to seriously rethink our future, what we can continue to provide and if we can find new ways to fund our work.”
Team Blazing Squad won £60 from a Dragon’s Den-type pitching competition to kickstart their project. They are now raising as much as they can by completing a 10-mile sponsored walk in fancy dress around Huddersfield – from The Zone on St Andrew’s Road to Beaumont Park via Huddersfield Railway Station, Greenhead Park and Linthwaite, collecting donations along the way.
They will also be bag-packing at a supermarket. And on Wednesday (Aug 2) they will hold a raffle and auction for items including a Huddersfield Town signed football and England cricket merchandise at Beaumont Park as part of the free Summer Play Day event being run by Nature’s Footprints and Friends of Beaumont Park.
As part of the day, the team will also be running a Teen Zone with games, sports and campfire cooking and will be helping marshall other events such as a Junior Park Run Fun Run.