The Vogrie Project
This project has become known as "Letting Nature Nurture" in recognition of its impact. We have learned that being in the outdoors, away from the day to day challenging environments which many young people face nurtures young people's positive characters, strengths and skills.
The project was sparked by a discussion with young people engaged in CLD services in Midlothian. Young people identified as being at risk of offending and other negative social outcomes were being referred to our services yet our previous offering needed to do more to successfully capture and sustain their involvement. Recognising that so many individuals attended on empty stomachs, making good food available was an important foundation. Building on this we explored ways to develop social skills, gain Duke of Edinburgh accreditation and develop vocational skills. On taking account of our surrounding countryside we realised that connecting with our parks and outdoor environments would create innovative learning opportunities that were underutilised, with surprisingly few young people having visited them.
Now young people are regularly collected by mini buses and taken to different woodland locations where they learn to safely use the tools and crafts needed for working in horticulture, parks, ponds, paths, trees, hedges and woodland management. Through team and individual coaching and mentoring, relationships are formed with youth workers seeking to nurture positive characteristics such as respect for self and others, risk management, time keeping, commitment, team work, and a love of nature and the great outdoors. Social time and interaction occurs round our communal camp fire - a key focal point which maintains positive group working.