Out There Wilderness Academy

A transformation six week programme for young people struggling with school,

behavioural issues and emotional resilience, we support them to get back on track.

What we do

Out There Wilderness Academy is a transformational programme for youth ages 13–15 or specialist groups of other ages/disabilities. Most young people are struggling with their behaviour, mood and schooling or have special educational needs.

Six weeks of outdoor alternative education followed by one-to-one mentoring, if needed, help young people get back on track in school, at home, and in the community.

Wilderness Foundation is able to offer Out There Academy throughout the year during term time as we are a registered Alternative Provider of ECC which means the time spent on the programme is counted as time in school.

The Programme

For the six week programme, Out There students encounter the natural environment at Chatham Green in Essex.

In small groups facilitated by certified outdoor facilitators, students engage in hands-on activities that challenge their minds, develop their social skills, and feed their emotional needs:

  • Team challenges, bushcraft, orienteering and power kiting activities
  • Local hikes, including cooking lunch over a wood fire
  • Group discussions and individual exercises
  • Mindfulness and stress management training

Out There is suitable for young people who are:

  • Struggling to engage and stay in school
  • At risk of suspension leading to exclusion
  • Struggling with family and relationship issues
  • Finding boundaries to be a challenge
  • Experiencing low-level mental health issues
  • Engaging in risky behaviours
  • Getting involved in anti-social behaviours

Throughout the programme we help to build communication skills and teach strategies for coping with difficult situations, anger management and emotional control.

After the six weeks at Chatham Green, Out There participants return to their home schools or other situations—but they don’t go alone. They have the support of a carefully trained and accredited adult mentor, who works with them if they need further help and support.

Information for Schools and Parents

Outcomes        

Our Out There Wilderness Academy is monitored and evaluated by the University of Essex. Intended outcomes for young people include:

This is an opportune time to thank you, and your colleagues, for the fantastic experiences you have given several youngsters I have referred to The Wilderness Foundation. All of them have enjoyed themselves throughout their programmes. What shows the impact they have had on their lives is the fact that they speak so favourably about it when talking to other learners who are being offered the opportunity. Several have matured in that they show far more self-confidence and awareness of others.

The follow up mentoring sessions are excellent. The mentors show real empathy and appreciation of the challenges faced by our youngsters. The professional relationships I have developed with the mentors has often led to me having an even greater understanding of the young people I work with.

The opportunities offered by the Foundation are now an important tool in our work with vulnerable youngsters, and the relationships built up between school and its staff are a bonus.

Craig Robertson, Family Learning Team, Honywood Community Science School

I had referred a number of vulnerable young people to the Out There Project in 2017.
All participants have been accepted and the feedback that I have received has been extremely positive.

The Wilderness Foundation has offered life chances and experiences to those young people that they may not have had, if it were not for the service on offer.
The change in attitude of the young people that I have supported has been amazing.

One in particular has thrived on the course so much, that he recently won an award at school for most improved student. I will continue to refer young people to this programme and hope that it continues to be run, but most importantly the funding remains in place. Colleagues in my service have also had similar outcomes and the shared view of The Wilderness Foundation and the Out There project has been one of importance to remain.

I look forward to working alongside your service again the future.

Neal Francis, Family Solutions, Mid Team Braintree & Witham

Refer a young person

For further information on our youth interventions, please email us or call 0300 123 3073. We are currently able to accommodate six groups of up to 15 students each per year.

To refer a student to the Out There Wilderness Academy, please fill out our referral form and return it by email to info@wildernessfoundation.org.uk Alternatively send the completed hard copy form to our postal address:

Out There Referrals:

Wilderness Foundation UK
Trinity House
2 Whitbreads Business Centre
Whitbreads Farm Lane
Chatham Green
Essex
CM3 3FE

Refer a young person >
100%

100% of referral agencies responded that thy would refer again (2016)

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