My Week: Tim Davis finds plenty to do in the depths of the forest

The senior instructor at Hindleap Warren Outdoor Education Centre recounts his week

Tim Davis
Tim Davis

SUNDAY - I welcome a group of young people with disabilities who are staying here at Hindleap. For the next six days, they will be trying our adventurous activities in Ashdown Forest. They arrive excited and nervous; my team gets them settled in and briefs them on what to expect during the week.

MONDAY - I spend the morning outdoors with the group. They are in teams of five and are trying different activities on a rota. I set them the task of taking a ball to the other end of an obstacle course using sections of pipe. In the afternoon, they try archery with another instructor. It is amazing to watch the transformation in some of the young people happening so soon after they arrive.

TUESDAY - While other instructors work with the groups in the forest, I'm looking at evaluation data. All our experience says that the work we do helps young people to build skills and confidence, and we're doing some exciting work with the Young Foundation to try to measure our impact. In the afternoon, I head to London for a meeting with members of our youth advisory board, Dare London. To make our outdoor education programmes relevant and helpful to young people, it's vital to get their views whenever we can.

WEDNESDAY - I visit a member club in Hackney, east London. We've been helping the young people there to design and sell home compost boxes so local residents can grow their own produce. Then it's on to another club in Greenwich to plan a weekend we're running for them at Hindleap. They are excited to hear about the bushcraft village in the woods, where they will learn to make things out of what they find in the wild.

THURSDAY - In the morning I talk to a group of outdoor education students about working with young people, and then I head back to the forest for the rest of the day. Having talked about the different outdoor education skills I have developed, it's great to put them into practice.

Hindleap Warren is a specialist outdoor education centre in Forest Row, East Sussex, run by the charity London Youth

Tim Davis is senior instructor at Hindleap Warren Outdoor Education Centre

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