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Wild Things environmental charity granted £475,000 for Silver Saplings project


By Garry McCartney

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Three ladies enjoying the great outdoors with help from Wild Things.
Three ladies enjoying the great outdoors with help from Wild Things.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL education charity based in Findhorn has been awarded nearly half a million pounds.

Wild Things will use £475,700 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to put young and older people in touch with nature, benefitting their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as the area's natural heritage.

Wild Things CEO, Luke Strachan, believes in the natural world's transformative and restorative qualities.

He said: "In the current Covid-19 crisis, our 'Silver Saplings' project is more relevant than ever. We aim to create opportunities for intergenerational engagement that unites communities and protect some of Scotland’s most unique, beautiful and fragile natural habitats.

"Wild Things is incredibly grateful for the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund who have made this important work possible. Together, we look forward to enabling both communities and our natural heritage to thrive in partnership."

Wild Things already provide wilderness, nature based, and outdoor learning experiences for all ages and abilities.

Thanks to the funding, vulnerable older people, including care home residents, will be taking part in outdoor activities in the Silver Saplings project, aimed at tackling issues such as isolation, loneliness and immobility. Activities will include rock pooling, pond dipping, osprey and dolphin spotting, as well as nature-based crafts and beach walks.

Wild Things working with care home residents.
Wild Things working with care home residents.

For care home residents with restricted mobility, there will be a programme of nature-based activities within the care home setting such as making bird feeders and planting native seedlings, designed to exercise cognitive abilities, fine and gross motor skills, hand eye coordination and concentration.

There will also be a programme of outdoor activities for vulnerable teenagers and adults with support in helping them work towards accredited NCFE qualifications. They will be encouraged to take part in many aspects of nature conservation including biological recording, avian surveys, coppicing and tree planting. They will also have the opportunity to lead sessions for older people to showcase what they have learned.

The project will run over four years across Moray, Inverness, Aviemore and Fochabers and is expected to help over 3000 vulnerable people.



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