December 2016
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The Wilderness Foundation UK harnesses the positive power of wilderness to change lives and the positive power of humanity to save wilderness

Dear <<First Name>>,

Autumn seems to be staying late this year with the myriad of colours filling the landscape and lifting spirits. Scotland in November was utterly beautiful and our young people on the Imbewu programme, sat on the edge of a hill in awe and wonder on our last day as we looked across to the snowy Cairngorms, the sun illuminating forests and valleys below us. That is when we feel truly satisfied with what we can achieve in taking young people into wild spaces and see the difference that the experience makes. 

There is something very calming at this time must be down to the fact that Nature hunkers down, takes time to restock, rest, replenish and build up new energy to face the spring again next year. Walking through the crunch of leaves and the chill in the air is invigorating and thought provoking.The sensations keep one in the present and it is easy to be mindful about the seasons and life in general. Being outside regardless of the weather absolutely helps us stay calm and boosts our mood.  With this in mind we will be starting our Wellbeing Fridays in January and they will include 'mindfulness in nature' walks on a regular basis around the Chatham Green site. Anyone in the area is more than welcome to join the groups and have a cup of tea afterwards. Keep an eye on the website in 2017.

Thinking of the seasons changing, looking back on this year has had its moments of real sadness, such as the loss of our great colleague David Eckersley in February. However, we have continued to weather the storms and we have been determined to ensure that Imbewu (the project he coordinated) grows from strength to strength and his memory is shared with all our young participants through the Scholarship Award set up in his name.  This is being launched with his family. The 2016 young person who we feel has taken the most from the programme will be given support in taking up further education and training in the rural sector. Applications will be invited at the end of the year. Please get in touch if you could add to the Scholarship Fund  - it would be most appreciated as we hope to continue to grow it year on year. 

In a similar vein, one of our popular younger mentors Rees Ballard took his own life earlier in the year. This was incredibly hard for those who were close to him and left behind. However, his mother and brother, in his memory and honour of his work, have also set up a scholarship for Rees to honour the young person who has benefited the most from mentoring in our TurnAround programme. Rees' wonderful Mum Christina has become an Ambassador for the Foundation and is making inroads throughout the international Dance and Ballet community in raising funds and awareness. Her energy and passion has been infectious and Rees' memory lives on through this and the young people he supported.  Please look at the website for more information.

Several years ago our Patron Diana Kemp Welch sadly passed away and her husband Sir John Kemp Welch, in conjunction with The Dulverton Trust, made a significant contribution to scholarships for TurnAround. Please see the article below. Our meeting with him and the Trust in London in late November was very moving and we believe that he could see for himself what a significant difference this memorial fund brings to the lives of very complex youth who have had very tough beginnings in their short lives. 

As we come towards the end of 2016 I would like to thank you all for reading the newsletter, attending our events, keeping up with our progress and supporting us in a range of ways. If our work touches you, perhaps you would consider helping us with a donation this Christmas? Every little bit helps and every penny counts.

Try to join us for Carols by Candlelight in the woods on the 10th December...winter will be upon us then and that is yet another season to be grateful for... and so it goes. 

With kind regards and best wishes for the Festive Season.

Jo and the team

Jo Roberts

Students embrace the challenge of Imbewu Scotland in wintry weather

Our final course of 2016 takes urban children to the wilds of the Highlands

The final Imbewu Scotland course of 2016 has just completed, even though the weather threw up cold, blizzards, snow and some rain! The programme took place on the Glenlivet Estate (part of the Crown Estate) with their kind support. Students drawn from a range of regional schools such as Crieff and Pitlochry, who had expressed an interest in rural careers, enjoyed time camping and hiking in the remote location supported by Wilderness Foundation staff and facilitators.   During the course of the week-long curriculum they also spent time shadowing estate staff and rangers, meeting local farmers and gamekeepers.  These opportunities encourage and grow awareness of the range of jobs possible in the rural sector. 

Graduates of the programme will now receive our "Pathways to Progress" handbook to help them with identifying career and employment opportunities in the rural sector. They receive ongoing support from our project team, helping them to realise their dreams of living and working in the countryside.

We are indebted to all of the funders who made delivery of Imbewu Scotland possible this year.   We have ambitious plans for 2017, which include work experience weeks to be held at Glenlivet.   None of this would be possible without your support.   Thank you.

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TurnAround participants discover the value of Restorative Justice

A workshop lead by the Essex Police and Crime commisioners team helped our young participants to understand the consequence of our actions.

Our most recent TurnAround Essex workshop was based on restorative justice and run by staff and volunteers from the Police Crime Commissioner's Office.   The workshop outlined what restorative justice is and how it aims to help both people who commit crimes and the people who are victims of crime.  

At the end of the workshop the group were all presented with Certificates of Awareness which will add to their portfolio of achievements gained throughout the project.  

Rosie Carpenter, Project Coordinator of TurnAround said "As one of our funders, it was great to have a workshop organised by the Police Crime Commissioner's Office.  The facilitators were fantastic with our group and really brough the topic of restorative justice alive."

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Charity Festive Fayre 2016

Our Annual Festive Fayre at Chatham Green is on Saturday 10th December

You are warmly invited to join us at our annual Charity Festive Fayre which this year is on Saturday 10th December from 1pm to 4pm.    

  • Follow the Reindeer Nature Trail to visit Santa in his Canvas Cabin and receive a gift!  
  • Stop at the Storyteller in the wood and enjoy a festive tale for children
  • Try your hand at our festive crafts in the Education Centre
  • Warming refreshments will be on sale.
Admission is £5 per child including visit to Santa and gift. Adults Free.

Why not stay on for Carols by Candlelight from 4pm?

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Carols by Candlelight

New this year - join us on 10th December from 4pm for carol singing in the woods at Chatham Green

To close out our Christmas celebrations, we are inviting people to join us immediately after the Festive Fayre for some carol singing in the woods.   We will be singing a number of favourite Christmas songs bathed in candlelight beside the pond.  

During the interval mince pies and mulled fruit juice will be available in exchange for donations.

All proceeds from the event, together with our Festive Fayre, will go towards delivering our work with vulnerable young people in the community.

Please wrap up warm and bring a torch if you can.

If you are unable to join us this year please consider making a donation in support of our work

Also this month...


Wilderness Foundation welcomes Ambassador Christina Ballard

The Wilderness Foundation is pleased to announce that Christina Ballard has joined the charity as a voluntary Ambassador.



Al Jazeera Investigates The Poachers Pipeline

An Al Jazeera undercover team penetrated the network of dealers, agents and traffickers who profit from the multi-million dollar trade in Rhino horn


TurnAround Essex group enjoy a successful week canoeing on the River Wye

The TurnAround Essex group has just returned from a wilderness trail in Wales.  The group spent a week canoeing on the River Wye.  This is what Ellie, one of the young people had to say about the week “It was such a magical week, every morning getting to wake up to the sound of the […]



TurnAround Essex Participants meet Sir John Kemp Welch

On 22nd November 2016 representatives from our TurnAround Essex group travelled to London to meet Sir John Kemp-Welch at the Dulverton Trust.


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