Case study 2

Torbay Young Carers attended a bespoke Forest School session, which enabled Young Carers to have the space and freedom of our four acre orchard to themselves for an afternoon of fun, enabling them to have space and time to reflect and talk freely if they wanted to.

This was the first time we had ever met this group of Torbay Young Carers.

Our remit was to enable the Young Carers aged between 14yrs-16yrs to cook over a fire.  This activity was requested by the Young Carers to the Torbay Young Carers Manager as something that they wanted to do.

However, our Forest School sessions seem to impact further than what we set out to achieve….

After facilitating this activity and everyone enjoying burgers, beans and hotdogs, the Young Carers started chatting more freely to the adults supporting this activity.  The next activity involved splitting into teams and creating dens from ropes, tarpaulins and natural resources found on the land.  These shelters were tested afterwards by the Leaders pouring water over them whilst the Young Carers huddled inside their dens screeching with delight and hoping they’d covered any holes in the roof!

After this activity one Young Carer reflected that she struggles going back to secondary school after the school holidays because the majority of her friends would  be sharing their  holiday stories of sun drenched exotic beaches and skiing experiences, whereas for this Young Carer, she’d never been on holiday due to her parents ill health.  Don’t get me wrong, this beautiful young lady wasn’t feeling sorry for herself or was showing any bitterness towards her peers, she was simply reflecting that she feels left out on returning to school because she doesn’t ever have something to talk about that could possibly compare to her peers holiday adventures.

However, what she able to take from the days Forest School session was that she could now go back into school to share her unique adventure and experience she’d just had at Orchard Forest School! Something she felt was worth talking about and sharing with her friends, something different from ‘her’ norm of supporting her parents and spending her school holidays between the four walls of her house.

Reflections from Young people like this make all those wet windy days and all our hard work, blood sweat and tears to try and make our provision work all worthwhile!!