Over the long summer break, it is always challenging for parents and grandparents to keep children entertained and stimulated, and even more so this year with the impact on summer vacations. Last week I found a wonderful solution at the Woodland Wonders forest school. Based in Sidlesham, they offer a range of activities for children including making traditional wooden toys, playing outdoor games, feeding farm animals and cooking their lunch on a campfire they had lit themselves. You can find out more about the events they are running on their website:www.woodlandwondersforestschool.co.uk
It was wonderful to see the children running around, learning new skills and meeting new friends. Activities like this are taking place all across the country as part of the Government’s Holiday and Activities Funding which is providing £220 million to support children who are eligible for free school meals. The aim is to ensure that the children not only have healthy snacks and a hot meal but also have fun and get to enjoy new activities.
Learning about nature and wildlife is hugely important and is something the younger generation are passionate about. On my frequent visits to local schools, questions covering animals, insects, climate change and the environment are always the most popular. As a Government, we recently launched a new £5 million research programme to help the UK adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The research will inform our strategy to prepare for, and protect against, the impacts of climate change, such as heatwaves, flooding and extreme storms. This work will be particularly important for coastal areas such as ours, where already we are highly susceptible to sea-level rise and storm surges. This work is another key element in our efforts to achieve net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
Locally, lots of people are doing their bit. Chichester District Council in collaboration with Defra, are running a tree planting scheme we can all take part in. These free trees are available to everyone including schools, community groups, individual residents, landowners and businesses. The trees will come in bundles of 10 or 20 and will be suitable for the soil type you are planting in – and come complete with biodegradable guards and stakes to help protect them. The applications close at the beginning of next month so please support our local green canopy and find a home for a bundle in your community. Happy planting! To apply visit www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme