School children from marginalised areas of Oxfordshire have become the latest cohort of learners to take part in an environmental education experience, thanks to funding from the Beard Charitable Foundation.
The programme, which is designed and delivered by charity Earth Trust, aims to connect children with the natural world through exciting outdoor experiences. Access to such trips has been extremely limited in recent years, as schools battle against tighter budgets and access to resources, including staffing.
With the pandemic having exacerbated these barriers, some of the pupils involved in the programme – particularly those in Year 3 classes – have not had the opportunity to go on a school trip before.
The latest cohort has just recently attended its first day of the programme, with the Earth Trust working closely with teachers to align practical experiences with classroom learning, in order to maximise the educational value of the programme.
The programme delivers over three years with a £10,000 funding from the Beard Charitable Foundation and a donation by Lucy Group – an Oxford-based electrical and real estate business. It covers transport and 60 percent of the overall programme cost, aiming to reduce the barriers for schools and enabling their learners to access the charity’s valuable green spaces and outdoor learning experiences.
2023 is the first full year of the programme, with three classes accessing two visits each year for three years. This allows those 90 students to build on their learning and to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of nature and the environment.
We are very grateful to the support of Beard, enabling resource-stretched schools to provide valuable learning experiences to their pupils and extending environmental consciousness to youngsters from all social backgrounds.
CEO, Earth Trust
The climate of the last few years has significantly reduced the opportunities for young people to have these valuable experiences. We are delighted to partner with Lucy Group to support the work of the Earth Trust and create those opportunities for disadvantaged children in the region.
The donation follows Beard’s involvement in the construction of Earth Lab, a stimulating and interactive educational space which has been designed in sympathy with the surrounding woodland landscape. Construction of Earth Lab took place in 2020-21 and the new facility welcomed its first students in June 2021.
The Beard Charitable Foundation was formed by the Beard family in 2016, to mark 125 years in business. The foundation aims to support the Beard family and Beard employees in their charitable and community pursuits. Beard is a family-run construction company that is proud of its people first ethos and its longstanding commitment to supporting the communities where it works and investing in the next generation.
Earth Trust inspires people to address climate, biodiversity and wellbeing with the power of natural green spaces. Their mission is to champion access and engagement with natural green spaces for everyone, so that together we take action for people and planet. Together with their supporter community, Earth Trust are guardians of some extremely special and inspiring places, rich in nature and heritage. They use these amazing places to engage and inspire people and to demonstrate nature-based solutions that we hope others will take and use elsewhere.