DCMS and UK Youth launch £1.5 million additional funding for outdoor learning fund to support underrepresented young people in England.

UK Youth are delighted to have been selected as the delivery partner for the second phase of the Adventures Away from Home Fund (AAfH), 2023/24. In partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the new £1.5 million fund aims to provide 8,500 disadvantaged young people, aged 11-18, or up to 25 for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), with bursaries to take part in outdoor learning. The fund will allow  underrepresented young people to take part in outdoor learning experiences that support their personal development through connections with other young people, trusted adults and nature. 

The AAfH fund will support charity and not-for-profit organisations in England to deliver outdoor learning experiences in the form of full day sessions and/or two night residential stays. Applications are now open for organisations to apply. Application forms must be submitted by midday on Monday 11 December and full eligibility details can be found on the UK Youth website.

UK Youth provides high quality outdoor learning at Avon Tyrrell, the charity’s outdoor learning centre in the New Forest. With over 76 years of experience, the charity is well positioned to lead the AAfH Fund.  

The Outdoor Learning team at the centre see daily how adventures away from home and outdoor engagement supports young people’s personal development. However, far too often barriers to participating in outdoor opportunities disproportionately affect certain groups of young people. UK Youth’s aim is to change that. The AAfH Fund will ensure funding is provided to allow underrepresented young people to experience fully accessible outdoor learning. 

Using the charity’s well-established Experience, Learn, Develop model as a framework for delivery, UK Youth will ensure programmes are accessible, support personal wellbeing and development, and create positive connections to nature and physical literacy. UK Youth provides a structure whilst allowing organisations to personalise delivery to meet the needs of young people. 

As part of the first phase of the Fund in 2022/23, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport provided £600,000 to support UK Youth to work with 45 outdoor learning providers, enabling more than 3,500 disadvantaged young people to engage in outdoor learning experiences across England. Every young person received a bursary to attend their session and were provided with additional assistance to overcome any accessibility barriers they faced.

David Watts, Director of Outdoor Learning at UK Youth, said: “This is another incredible opportunity for young people to access fully funded, high quality outdoor learning experiences. Young people’s opportunities to thrive are impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, mental health concerns, a lack of employment opportunities and limited access to green spaces. We are delighted to be working with DCMS for the  second phase of the Adventures Away from Home Fund to provide this invaluable funding for underrepresented young people from England to experience, learn and develop.  

The first phase delivered positive outcomes in terms of increasing access to valuable outdoor learning for young people with significant access needs and facing inclusion barriers. This has included improving their skills for life and work through building confidence and improving their mental well-being. We were privileged to be part of the first phase of the Fund.”

UK Youth recently published an Outdoor Learning Report Summary - an in-depth review of the evidence around the positives of outdoor learning and the barriers to access that young people face, preventing them from being able to meaningfully engage in outdoor learning and its associated benefits.  The AAfH fund is one step towards providing equitable access to outdoor learning.

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Time: 2023-05-19 09:40