£50,000 to help deprived Norwich families connect with nature

Bluebell Woods will be used as part of the Families Connect project for Norwich families 

Bluebell Woods will be used as part of the Families Connect project - Credit: Tom Marshall

A new project will use the power of nature to help deprived families connect with nature. 

An initial programme of activities will be rolled out across Greater Norwich and parts of rural Broadland to the north of the city thanks to £50,000 funding from the Norfolk Community Foundation and the Thriving Communities Fund. 

Some of the activities being planned through the project include walks in the countryside, creative arts activities for the home and visits to nature-themed attractions such as the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Grapes Hill Garden, Norwich, will allow families to connect with nature as part of a new project

Grapes Hill Garden, Norwich, will allow families to connect with nature as part of a new project - Credit: Grapes Hill Garden

Advice and equipment to support families interested in home gardens and food growing is also being explored. 

Nigel Boldero, of the Norfolk Green Care Network, said there were fewer opportunities for people in some parts of Norwich to take part in creative activities and to connect with nature.


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He added: "The power of nature to bring people together and help promote health and well-being has become much more obvious during the pandemic.

Mini gardens displayed by ArtatWork, one of the Families Connect partners

Mini gardens displayed by ArtatWork, one of the Families Connect partners - Credit: ArtatWork

"This programme will explore new, creative ways of helping families and explore how nature can be a bridge to other support and activities." 

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Mr Boldero believed this new project model could be rolled out to other parts of the county in due course.

The Families Connect clubs will have around 10 families who can take up a range of midweek activities aimed at early years children and those up to 11-years-old.

Whole family activities are also being offered at weekends which can include children up to the age of 16.

Holly Sandiford, director of ArtatWork, one of the Families Connect partners, said the initiative celebrates Norwich's organisations and projects, as well as aiming to break down the barriers families face in accessing these activities. 

Painted snails displayed by ArtatWork, one of the Families Connect partners

Painted snails displayed by ArtatWork, one of the Families Connect partners - Credit: ArtatWork

She said: "Many are unaware of what's available and feel that the arts, physical activity, and the outdoors are not for them. By offering taster sessions in accessible locations, we aim to build the trust that is needed to build engagement and connect people to the brilliant organisations in the city.

"Reaching out so that people feel welcomed and accepted will open up doors to families in real need of this engagement at this challenging time."

The project website can be found at https://familiesconnect551624406.wordpress.com/ 

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