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Connecting Naturally

Connecting families with nature

Family walking in a woodConnecting Naturally was an exciting and innovative project that ran for three years (2011-2014) and connected more than 24,000 children and families in Oxfordshire with nature and greenspaces.

Funded by Natural England (through Access to Nature - part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme), the Patsy Wood Trust and the Earth Trust, we worked with children, families and communities living around and accessing 10 Children’s Centres in Oxford, Berinsfield and Banbury. The idea for the programme was inspired by Oxfordshire County Council’s Without Walls pilot, working with children’s centres to develop their outdoor areas and family learning.  

Engaging local communities

We worked with families to engage and excite them about nature and the outdoors, while looking at what currently prevents them from being out and enjoying the natural world. Children’s Centres work primarily with families with children under five, we therefore focused our work on this age range, engaging directly with over 4,000 children and their carers. Through establishing local community connections with nature, we reached a wider audience (including siblings and extended family) of over 24,000 people over the three years.

Interesting, fun activities and events engaged and excited children and families about nature and being outside. Families could determine their own learning with things to do and reasons to go out, explore and discover.

The Connecting Naturally team...

The project was run by Jenny Creese, Community Engagement Manager, and Philip Pritchard, Community Engagement Officer, with Stuart Turner on secondment from Oxfordshire County Council (two days a week).

Our work | Connecting Naturally gallery

Funding

Connecting Naturally was funded by Natural England, through its Access to Nature programme, part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme, and the Patsy Wood Trust. The project was run in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, building on the successful and innovative Without Walls programme which was developed by Oxfordshire County Council working with the School Grounds Charity: Learning through Landscapes. Other partners included the Oxford City Asian Families Project and the Black Environment Network (BEN).