Wizzleworld Dramatics CIC has received a £74,724 from HS2 Ltd to create a series of bespoke new programmes aimed at encouraging outdoor exploration in children and improving wellbeing for West Midlands residents.
Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds, said:
“Wizzleworld Dramatics have produced an amazing 39-week programme that will ensure the local woodland remains accessible to local people. The Community & Environment (CEF) and Business & Local Economy Funds (BLEF) were set up to provide additional funding for projects like Wizzelworld, and I hope their success encourages similar organisations impacted by the construction of HS2 to do the same.”
Operating out of woodland and community spaces close to Windward Way in Solihull, the grant will pay for the delivery of a series of new workshops by specialist staff trained in outdoor education, primary education and mental health. The three workshops include Muddy Feet, Wild Windward Warriors and Wellbeing at Windward:
The Muddy Feet workshops are aimed at young preschool and infant children and their families. Wizzleworld will deliver a yearly programme for up to ten families exploring benefits of outdoor all-weather play through storytelling activities. The sessions will be designed to be accessible to children with additional needs including Autism and ADHD.
Taking place weekly, Wild Windward Warriors, aimed at children aged 7 to 11, will focus on encouraging creativity including sessions exploring creative story writing alongside 'hands on' activities including building bat boxes, bird houses, bug hotels and woodland crafts. The goal of the sessions is to reconnect young people with green spaces in their area alongside developing softer life-skills such as communication, empathy and creativity.
Wellbeing at Windward offers local people practical activities designed to help people face mental health issues such as anxiety, loneliness, and depression. The adult-focused programme will include sessions exploring woodland crafts, eco-therapy and mindfulness, delivered by qualified practitioners experienced with managing stress.
Kerry, Instructor at Wizzleworld CIC, said:
“We have been working in the North of Solihull for over 7 years delivering a variety of creative and performing arts sessions both in indoor and outdoor spaces and can't wait to get started with this new project."
All sessions will run every week across a 39-week programme, with additional woodland workshops that explore the benefits of outdoor play and exploration. The sessions will contribute towards the wider conservation work at the site, with woodland pathways being established to support future planned community events such as orienteering, Halloween walks and guided nature talks.
As construction of HS2 gets underway, applications for the funds are still being welcomed. The Funds for Phase One, independently administered by the charity Groundwork UK, are designed to support urban and rural, community, environmental and business projects. In the West Midlands, over 50 projects have already received £2.6m of additional funding resulting from HS2’s Community & Environment (CEF) and Business & Local Economy Funds (BLEF).
To find out more about how to apply for the programme, visit: https://hs2funds.org.uk