Teens take advantage of adventures in the South Downs National Park

Teens, some of whom have never been to a national park, have spoken out about the mental health benefits they’ve experienced after visiting the South Downs.

Young people from across the South East take part in action-packed clubs in the South Downs National Park, all about getting closer to nature.

They have taken part in wildlife walks in Seven Sisters Country Park and photo and sound recording in Friston Forest and river paddleboarding.

The Argus: Teenagers enjoy a picnic in the South Downs National ParkTeenagers enjoy a picnic in the South Downs National Park (Image: South Downs National Park)

The initiative was led by a partnership of Make (Good) Trouble, East Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Trust.

Make (Good) Trouble focuses on helping young people with their emotional wellbeing and encouraging teens to “think outside the box” to develop lifelong skills.

The Argus: Teenagers in Friston Forest in the National ParkTeenagers in Friston Forest in the National Park (Image: South Downs National Park)

Many of the teenagers taking part in the initiative had never explored a national park before, and some had experienced social isolation and mental health issues during the pandemic.

One said: “Lockdown was very boring – I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. This is a break from normal life and a lot of fun. You stop worrying about things you usually worry about and you can just enjoy yourself.”

Another said: “I look forward to coming here every morning, even if it means getting up early.”

A parent of one of the participants said: “Caring for a young person whose home life was traumatic has been an absolute lifeline for her and for me.”

Jane Keating of Make (Good) Trouble said: “We have been able to offer so many opportunities and activities for young people to experience and learn about nature and the environment.

“The photo session allowed them to capture their surroundings and share their experiences in a creative way. It gave them a break from their normal lives and it was amazing to see how much more curious, engaged and connected they were.”

The Argus: Amanda Elmes from the South Downs National ParkAmanda Elmes from South Downs National Park (Image: South Downs National Park)

Amanda Elmes, Director of Education and Outreach at South Downs National Park, said: “It was wonderful to work with these teenagers and see them blossom from the experience.

“Unfortunately, a significant proportion of young people are cut off from the natural world around them, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this.

“We at the National Park are really committed to giving young people the opportunity to get out into the South Downs, learn about nature and have fun – maybe even come home with muddy shoes.

“We firmly believe that all children should have access to nature.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23106772.teenagers-benefit-adventures-south-downs-national-park/?ref=rss Teens take advantage of adventures in the South Downs National Park

Fry Electronics Team

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