5,000 signatures reached
To: Nadhim Zahawi MP
Reconnect children with nature
We are calling for the Government to guarantee that all children will benefit from having access to nature while in education, with additional funding and support to level up access for those who need it most.
Why is this important?
The Nature Premium is a proposal to guarantee regular time in nature for all children and young people with additional funding and support to level up those with least access to nature. It would ensure that the children and young people, who need it most, are supported to access spaces they otherwise would not.
The benefit of time spent in nature to children’s mental and physical well-being is supported by government research. Reconnecting children with nature is highlighted as a priority in the Environment Act 2021, Environment Improvement Plan. We are asking Nadhim Zahawi, Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid and Michael Gove to make the evidence-informed decision to support a Nature Premium for every child.
The Lockdowns highlighted the inequalities of access to nature. This is not a new phenomenon, but one which now, more than ever, needs addressing. Time in nature is crucial for children’s mental and physical well-being: the benefits are far-reaching and well-documented. Nature provides a way to feel refreshed, revitalised, calm and relaxed. People who visit nature have greater life satisfaction, more self-worth, more happiness and less anxiety. Other benefits include better resilience, improvements in social functioning and social inclusion. Its benefits for physical well-being are critical too: in the UK obesity affects around 1 in every 5 children aged 10 to 11 and in 2014-15 the NHS spent an estimated £6.1 billion on overweight and obesity-related ill health. Research published in 2018 showed that children used more energy on a school day with Forest School (playing in woods), than on a school day with P.E. Wildlife Trust research also found that natural environments can play a key role in increasing physical activity levels. Not all children enjoy organised games and team competition: playing in a nature rich environment is more inclusive.
The Nature Premium campaign’s objectives align with the government’s recently announced package of measures to ‘level up’ activities for young people and it’s aims to increase access to regular out of school activities, adventures away from home and opportunities to volunteer.
Additionally, if implemented effectively, a Nature Premium could help address the unprecedented impact Covid-19 has had on young people and their mental well-being. It would be a small price to pay for prevention in relation to the £77 billion that the Government currently spends on mental health care.
Increasing activity levels would also support the goals of the Childhood Obesity plan by ensuring dedicated time for physical activity in nature. In turn, the Nature Premium can help schools improve their Ofsted ratings by being a clear way of demonstrating how their pupils are more physically active.
A Nature Premium would:
• Contribute to the Government’s Levelling Up Agenda by spreading opportunities and
improving education, skills, health, and wellbeing.
• Reduce children’s time on electronic devices by getting children back in nature.
• Support children and young people to manage their own mental and physical wellbeing.
• Encourage higher levels of physical activity, addressing obesity levels that were made worse
Please help build awareness of our campaign and demonstrate to our government that all school children, regardless of their socio-economic background should have equal access to nature, and schools should be equipped with the funding that is required to facilitate that access.