Third Sector Awards: Breakthrough of the Year – The Jack Hazeldine Foundation for JHF Community Outdoor Classroom

This award is an opportunity to showcase something new or different. Areas could include supporter and/or donor engagement, extending the reach of the charity or introducing a new way of working

Breakthrough of the Year – The Jack Hazeldine Foundation for JHF Community Outdoor Classroom

What is the project?

The Jack Hazeldine Foundation (JHF) uses mentoring, tutoring and bespoke therapeutic provisions to support vulnerable young people. During the pandemic referrals increased dramatically, but Covid-19 had an impact on the charity’s ability to interact with young people face-to-face. In response, JHF worked closely with the local community to build an outdoor classroom.

How is the project delivered?

JHF was able to negotiate land from a local farmer and draw on community goodwill to create the classroom. The charity’s workforce soon expanded beyond staff members to include school teachers, rugby teams, tradespeople, local businesses and community volunteers. "DIY SOS days" were promoted on social media for local families to come to together within their bubbles and help to build the classroom as a Covid-19-safe half-term lockdown activity.

Despite horrendous weather, pathways were laid, structures built and more than 50 trees were planted. Local businesses donated sheds, plants and materials as well as time and promotion. The community can now enjoy a programme including forest skills, mindfulness, life skills, environmental action, community engagement and creative arts.

How effective has it been?

JHF outperformed its own predicted outreach by 625 per cent, with a combination of on-site mentoring, tutoring, outdoor learning workshops and LEGO therapy. The charity has strengthened and extended partnerships with local schools and charities, such as Clevedon Aid, which commissioned bespoke mental health and outdoor learning workshops in the spring. JHF’s volunteer network has expanded by over 1,000 per cent in response to the project.

What did the judges say?

“A really delightful, simple solution which had far-reaching, positive impact on individual beneficiaries and the community. Excellent effort from a small charity.”


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