Our Milestones team, alongside Youth Action Wiltshire, are now in the middle of their Summer activity programme (Splash), which provides positive activities for young people who are facing challenges in their lives. Christine, our Education and Wellbeing Officer, tells us more.

With wellbeing as a key focus for the young people involved in Splash, we are giving them the opportunity to have time away from home and a sense of independence, as well as a chance to socialise and play; all in the heart of one of our delightful nature reserves.

We are providing a range of activities, depending on the location. These include shelter building, Kelly kettles, pond dipping, mini raft making, woodland walks, bug hunts and the ever popular hammocks; who wouldn’t want to relax in a hammock in a beautiful shady woodland on these hot days!

The relaxing hammocks! 

The groups that we are working with are small and this enables us to have the time, space and capacity to dedicate attention to each individual. The value of play in children’s and adults’ lives is now well documented and having time to play can benefit both physical and mental health. Play also offers children the chance to make sense of the world around them, something that is vital during the time of this pandemic.  

Each of our participants has different experiences from the lockdown and it is inspiring to see how they respond to being out in nature again. One parent was delighted when her daughter returned:

She hasn't stopped chatting about it! We really appreciate it so much - she has been so isolated lately and today has bought back the daughter I remember.

The willingness with which the young people engage in the activities and become absorbed by the natural world around them reflects the value and importance of being outside and socialising in a positive environment.

Each day passes quickly and everyone wishes that the time could carry on:

This is so lovely, I don’t want to go home, can we camp out?

- Splash participant

I was so anxious about coming but I’m having a really great day!

- Splash participant

As the weeks of Summer pass, we are so pleased with the success of the activities and are looking forward to working with our school groups again in the knowledge that we can create opportunities for addressing young people’s wellbeing through the difficult times of the pandemic. Their wellbeing and long term mental health is crucial for all of us.

For more information about what we do to improve wellbeing, see our list of programmes and projects. You might also be interested in our previous blog post on mental health.