Hampstead Heath education team think creatively to bring education to vulnerable children, including at the England’s Lane hostel

Ephraim Kenna-Braithwaite took his son with him to deliver worksheets to the England's Lane hostel.

Ephraim Kenna-Braithwaite took his son with him to deliver worksheets to the England's Lane hostel. Picture: City of London Corporation / Ephraim Kenna-Braithwaite - Credit: Archant

Usually, throughout the spring and early summer, the City of London Corporation’s education team work with schoolchildren and use Hampstead Heath to teach them about the outdoor world.

During lockdown, this has obviously been impossible. But Abigail Tinckler, who leads the CoLC’s education work, has been working hard with her team to get worksheets and activities to north London’s most vulnerable children – including those in temporary accommodation like the England’s Lane hostel in Belsize Park.

Abigail told the Ham&High: “Our open spaces learning programme is usually focussed on working face to face with people in our amazing spaces, getting people outside and improving their confidence in nature. With the lockdown we have had to completely redesign how we do things.

“We have been thinking about how we can reach children and groups who would have been impacted more by the lockdown.”

Through working with schools and local authorities, the team has been able to bring a small slice of the outdoors to people who have little or no access to green space during lockdown.

Abi added: “We have created worksheets with activities kids can do at home. Whether it’s using onion skin to make ink or growing shoots from an old clove of garlic. All things that should be able to be done with materials you’ll have lying around.

“Simply, we felt we really wanted to support families who need help. “

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Oliver Sells, who chairs the CoLC’s open spaces committee, said: “Our project is reaching deprived parts of London, including areas surrounding Hampstead Heath and in Newham – one of the most economically disadvantaged boroughs in the capital.

“Many children have had limited access to green spaces during the lockdown. This programme is helping them take part in fun, creative activities and learn about nature during the pandemic.

“We look forward to sharing many more educational videos and activities as London begins to reopen.”

Other activities include videos teaching children how to do a bug hunt, and tutorials on create eco art, a bird feeder or sun catcher.

The team are hoping to get their usual programme of outdoor events up and running as soon as possible.