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 - September 2022
As the seasons turn and autumn begins to freshen the days and frost the mornings, there really is no better time for those of all ages to get out and about to enjoy all of the benefits of being in nature.
This September we have made a donation of a number of DD Charity edition hammocks and tarps to the children and teachers at Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School for use in their outdoor learning division, where children from years 2 to 6 learn a variety of bushcrafting skills while honing their social and intellectual development.
Read on to take a further look at the work of Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School and the Hazels - including pallet dens, future forests and tarp shelters!
Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School Forest School runs throughout the year, experiencing all 4 seasons - the philosophy of Forest Schools as a whole is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in an outdoor woodland environment, each child has an opportunity to develop motivation, sound emotional and social skills. These, through self-awareness can be developed to reach personal potential.
John Ratcliffe, Outdoor Learning teacher tells us more about the work and aims of the Hazels, as well as explaining how the children have been able to enjoy their new DD gear:
"What a busy time we’ve been having at Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School since getting back from the summer holidays. 'The Hazels' (part of our outdoor learning provision for Year 2 up to Year 6 children) has been a hive of activity. Each class comes up for a busy morning of outdoor learning over a two-week rolling programme- almost 300 children in total!
We play games, sing, tell stories, build, expand our knowledge of the flora and fauna on site, add and improve on habitats for wildlife, cook on campfires, create cool artwork to name just some of what we do. We also work with smaller groups of children in the afternoons who need some extra support to enable them to thrive at school.
We have noticed a much-increased need for emotional and mental health support for many of our children since the covid lockdown, and getting them out and about, being busy, in the great outdoors has proven to be of immense value in helping to reduce anxieties, improve focus, build strong social bonds, and puts big smiles on everyone’s faces! We work hard to provide opportunities to improve our essential skills in communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, creativity, working hard and being a positive participant in all we do.
The arrival of the hammocks and tarps from DD Hammocks was met with great excitement from staff and pupils, not least because we have very little in the way of shelter from the elements on our site. With only two mature trees- a mighty oak and a majestic silver birch- we have worked hard to plant a lot of saplings (native species, an orchard, walnut, sweet chestnut, hazel to allow for future coppicing, elder for delicious cordial making) but these trees are very much in their infancy- we call it our 'future forest'.
The addition of the tarps has allowed us to create several areas of shelter already, as our intention is to keep activities going throughout the year, whatever the weather, to experience the slow turn of the seasons, to witness the flow of nature’s cycles- but we don’t want to be soggy all winter!
The hammocks are also already being put to good use as we work hard to create an area of calm relaxation. Unfortunately, without trees to act as anchor points, we had a bit of head scratching as to how to suspend them. We settled on constructing several pallet dens, to be situated around the birch tree, from which we could string hammocks from tree to den and den to den. So armed with a pile of recycled wood, we set to the task.
The children have been very enthusiastic helpers, with hammers and nails, putting up the first of the dens and trying out the fruits of their labours with a go in the hammocks. A fantastic social project, with wonderful results, made possible through the children’s shared effort and DD Hammocks kindness.
Thank you from all of us at Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School."
If you would like to find out more about the outdoor learning forest school at Sir Alexander Fleming Prmary School as well as their other academic programs, there is more information on their website.
There is still plenty of time to get involved with DD Charity this year!
Do you know of a charity, group or organisation that focuses on the outdoors and helping those enjoy the many positives of the natural world, and encourage others to grow up in the beauty of the outdoors?
If you think they would benefit from some free sets of hammocks and tarps, as well as a top spot on the DD Charity Blog to showcase their work, services, stories and successes, we would love to hear from you!
Help us help others in need, 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.