DD Charity Blog
A place for us to highlight the great work of charitable groups we are supporting with donations of DD Hammocks Gear each month. We are proud to be working with community engagement programs, mental health charities and more to provide equipment and easy access to the great outdoors for those in need.
DD Charity Update - June 2023
For the sunny month of July we've been able to work with a long running organisation who feel passionately that every child, adult and community member has the right to explore the outdoors - and we couldn't agree more!
With a long and exciting history of getting young people into nature since the early 1900s, England based charity The Kingswood Trust has always recognised the benefits of the outdoors on health, mental wellbeing and physical fortitude. We catch up with Rachel Wells, Head Teacher and Manager of The Kingswood Trust, who tells us more about the fascinating background of this local UK charity.
"In July 2023, the Kingswood Trust will be celebrating one hundred years of promoting the outdoors to schools and to the community on its nine-acre site just outside Wolverhampton. The Kingswood Trust is a unique facility in terms of its history, the way it has evolved over time whilst consistently promoting public recognition of outdoor education and the study of the natural environment.
The site has undergone differing phases between 1923 – 2023. Originally conceived as a children’s holiday camp, that provided outdoor activities for children from disadvantaged homes in Wolverhampton to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. The funding to purchase the site was raised by local public subscription, led by the Mayoress of Wolverhampton. The local Express and Star stated at the time that the camp aimed ‘to bring a little brightness and joy to many boys and girls by their transition from mean streets and congested homes to the pure and bracing air of the countryside.’ Following the purchase, Kingswood was managed as an independent Charity – the Children’s Holiday Camp Trust supporting the “Children’s Aid Foundation”. From 1933 – 1969, now with permanent buildings, the site was developed as a weekday and then a full-time special school for children with a variety of health issues, particularly TB and other ailments requiring access to fresh air, proper nutrition and adequate rest before children could return to their own schools.
By 1969 the NHS provided such treatment, and the site was purchased at a public auction by Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council. They transformed the site into a pioneering nursery and infant residential centre for schools. The aim was to provide an experience of countryside life for very young children that supported their socialisation and promoted classroom learning. At the time this provision by Wolverhampton Metropolitan Council was unique and it attracted many visitors. It was also featured in the national press, including the Times Educational Supplement, and by 1979 some 3000 children per year had stayed overnight with their teachers and carers from ninety-three schools in the Borough at no charge. Kingswood continued to accommodate school groups totalling some 5000 children per year for both day and residential visits until 2014.However, in 2010, the now Wolverhampton City Council resolved to withdraw the funding for Kingswood phased over three years.
To save this resource, it was transferred in 2014 to a newly formed charity - the Kingswood Trust. This now meant that all funding needed had to be raised by a small number of staff and regular volunteers. Since then, Kingswood has managed to continue to provide activities aimed at connecting children, families, and the elderly with the outdoors to everyone’s benefit and the Trust goes on from strength to strength. During the pandemic, Kingswood Trust has continued to develop its natural resources for wildlife and people and has greatly improved the biodiversity of its 9-acre site, providing a special place for nature to thrive and for its visitors to enjoy.
Kingswood Trust now also opens on Saturdays and during school holidays to offer a variety of family events and opportunities for community groups now drawn from across the whole of the region. In addition to school children, our “Nature4All” and “Nature Matters” projects are aimed at the local community, with a new emphasis on provision for the elderly, those suffering from dementia, marginalised groups, and activities for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with poor mental health. Kingswood Trust was recognised in 2019 by being awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service and holds the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. It is a dementia friendly organisation, a “Place of Welcome” and has recently registered as a “Safe Place”."
We hope that with our donation of 20 pairs of DD Charity Edition Scout Hammocks and Tarps, the children, community and families that make The Kingswood Trust their spiritual home will continue to enjoy and explore the outdoors for many more years to come!
As the summer sun continues to shine and keeps the days long and warm, let's get as many folks into nature as we can!
If you know of a charity, group or cause with a focus on the outdoors and a passion for helping those less fortunate get out into nature that would benefit from some free outdoor equipment plus a spot on the DD Charity Blog to showcase their work, we would love to hear from you!
Help us help others, and get involved by getting in touch with us via our DD Charity contact form.
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About the writer
A regular on the hiking trails of Northern Scotland, Vikki loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors. When she's not pulling on her hiking boots or trail shoes, this DD Team Member can often be spotted in the gym or curled up at home with a sketchpad and pencil.