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Exploring the feasibility of a natural environment programme to encourage use of natural environments by disadvantaged children and young people - BE0153

This feasibility study will review current provision of opportunities to encourage children and young people (aged 5 -20) to make use of the Natural environment. The results will inform decisions on any future role for Government in supporting the increase of opportunities for disadvantaged young people to experience a range of natural environments, learn about how natural environments can benefit them (for instance in terms of health and wellbeing), and participate in social action related to the environment.
The project is intended to help identify whether disadvantaged children and young people are accessing opportunities available, the barriers and challenges to increasing uptake of opportunities, and how best practice can be built upon and current provision maximised, to encourage use of the Natural environment by disadvantaged children and young people.
The project should seek to understand how a future natural environment programme could reach the most disadvantaged young people, identify where support would be best allocated and how it could be developed, including the role for potential Government support.
• To provide a brief summary of any previous activity undertaken to identify trends in provision and increase use of natural environments by the target group.
• To undertake a detailed review and mapping exercise of the current provision for children and young people to engage with the natural environment. The review should consider youth programmes, groups and clubs, social action opportunities and any other services provided to the target group. It should identify any areas or sub-groups that are poorly served by current activity, including particular age groups, and should distinguish between activities supervised by trained youth workers and less structured provision by other local providers.
• To review the extent to which disadvantaged children and young people are participating and remaining engaged in current service provision.
• To review and identify existing data sources that could be used to understand engagement levels of disadvantaged young people.
• To gather insights from service providers, practitioners, environmental organisations and NGOs, and other intermediaries in order to:
a) Explore systemic issues, challenges and barriers to provision and uptake of opportunities by this target group
b) Understand how engagement with the target group is measured, understood and evaluated
c) Explore opportunities to further improve and build upon current provision to support increased engagement by the target group
• To use the results from the review and mapping exercise and insights gathered, in order to:
a) Identify whether there is a gap in current provision of opportunities for the target group
b) Explain the barriers and challenges in provision for the target group and identify any solutions to addressing these
c) Identify opportunities to enhance the existing offer made to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to allow more children and young people to experience the natural environment – either through adjustments to the existing offering, or through new offerings
d) Make a recommendation as to the case for (or against) a natural environment pilot programme to encourage use of the natural environment by disadvantaged children and young people – and if appropriate, how this could be developed
• To recommend future actions which would help achieve our goal of increasing use of the natural environment by the target group, focusing primarily on those which could achieve the most significant impact, including specific actions for Government, as well as the youth sector, educational institutions, and local government.
• To set out options for a future natural environment programme, including the role for potential Government support, which should be written for policy and practitioner audiences in the natural environment, youth, education, physical activity and social action sectors. These should consider any optimum target groups or regions, potential components and activities, and the scale and possible costs of interventions. Options should consider potential mechanisms for government support based on successful schemes in the UK and overseas. This might involve consideration of the capacity of groups currently active within the sector to increase the effectiveness and reach of their provision for the target group.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2019

To: 2020

Cost: £142,302
Contractor / Funded Organisations
National Centre For Social Research
Social Research