More disadvantaged school children will be supported to experience South Downs in 2018

One thousand more children from low income families could get the chance to experience learning outside the classroom in the South Downs National Park this year thanks to a £5,000 donation to the new South Downs National Park Trust charity from Sussex Community Foundation and Brighton Rock Fund.

Each year the South Downs school travel scheme targets the 230 schools which cover the 20% most deprived urban communities around the National Park, aiming to reduce the main barrier to outdoor learning – the cost of transport to venues. The £10,000 existing fund, supported by the South Downs National Park Authority, is always oversubscribed.

Amanda Elmes, who leads on learning for the South Downs National Park Authority, said:

“This additional funding will make a huge difference to teachers and students in disadvantaged areas. We know that contact with nature improves children’s ability to concentrate and their self-discipline and yet children in the UK have less contact with nature now than at any time in the past.

“We believe that every child should get the chance to experience a National Park first hand so it’s frustrating to know that there are teachers eager to bring their students into the South Downs who are prevented by the cost of hiring a coach for the day.

“Since the South Downs National Park school travel fund started in April 2013 we have enabled 14,368 children from 210 schools access outdoor learning opportunities in the South Downs. We’re very grateful to Sussex Community Foundation and Brighton Rock Fund for their support which will enable us to reach 1,000 more children, from 17 more schools.”

How to apply

The 2018 travel fund will open on 23 April 2018. Administrators at all 230 primary and secondary schools which are eligible to apply will contacted on the day with details of how to apply. Each school can apply for a grant of up to £300 to cover the cost of hiring a coach for the day.