* Please note – The article below was released prior to South Sefton Development Trust changing its name to Regenerus
A new Merseyside social enterprise is rooting for business success by offering courses in woodland skills to schools and adult groups.
Learn Out There, run by outdoors expert Dave Dobson, has set up its forest school in Whiston Woods in Knowsley.
Forest schools – a concept which originated in America before spreading to the Scandinavian countries – are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
Learn Out There offers school groups a range of activities in its woodland environment including shelter building, cooking over an open fire, foraging and constructing compost toilets and seating.
These are used to develop personal and social skills including manual dexterity, team work, problem solving and the basics of fire safety and first aid.
The new social enterprise has already worked with a number of Merseyside schools, and the forest activities have proved so popular with one of them – Kirkdale St Lawrence Primary – that staff want to extend a six-week course to a year-long programme.
However, the benefits of the forest school are not just available to children and young people. Learn Out There also offers staff development and team building days to businesses and unique party experiences for adult groups.
The business is looking to develop this area of its work with the help of social enterprise support specialists, South Sefton Development Trust.
Dave Dobson commented: “Our forest school enables children to learn new practical skills and also helps to develop their self-confidence.
“It’s very satisfying to see them learning in this different but still safe environment, working effectively together but having fun at the same time.”
Development Trust Business Development Manager, Eve Money, said: “We are convinced that the forest school can offer huge benefits by providing learning and personal development opportunities in a unique situation.
“It will also encourage more awareness of – and respect for – our natural environment.
“As well as helping Learn Out There to develop new business opportunities, we are keen to work with Dave and his team on some of our own youth-focused programmes,” added Mrs Money.
* For more information about Learn Out There ring 07890 415278 or visit www.learnoutthere.co.uk.