We are delighted to have been awarded funding to be part of the Scottish Government's £20 million Get Into Summer scheme, created to support children and young people who have been most impacted by Covid, by providing opportunities to socialise, play and reconnect this summer.

We will be working in partnership with Scottish Forestry to deliver sessions for young people with care experience which will take place in the woodlands across Scotland, with the content of the meet ups being determined by those taking part. Originally co-produced by our young people from Project Return to take place in summer 2020, we are now thrilled to be delivering it across the country this summer.

This work aims to:

  • Support the improved mental health and wellbeing of care leavers and their workers.
  • Provide targeted opportunities for care leavers and those who support them to reconnect with each other and us after 15 months of participating online.
  • Provide opportunities to be active in the woodlands and forests participating in activities relevant to wild spaces.
  • Enable care leavers to continue using their local wild spaces beyond the programme.

Why the Woodland?

The benefits for mental health and well-being of being in the outdoors and in particular woodlands and forests are highlighted in the following research.

  • Children and young people can gain a wide range of health, wellbeing and learning benefits by experiencing nature, including trees and woodlands (Forest Research)
  • Visiting forest environments can help lower blood pressure and pulse rate, reduce cortisol levels and suppress sympathetic nervous activity (Forest Europe)
  • Studies show a significant relationship between stress and the quantity of green space in the living and working environment (Forest Research / Mersey Forest)

Interim Staf CEO Pamela Graham said

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding to take part in this initiative and be able to extend this offer to all of our members. It will be great to be able to re connect with young people and their workers right across Scotland and we look forward to being in the great Scottish woodlands. We know the benefits of being in the outdoors and understand that for our young people with care experience the last 15 months has had considerable impact on their mental health and wellbeing and sense of isolation. We are looking forwards to everything that this project will bring and are grateful to our partners Scottish Forestry who will support the delivery of this work.  We can guarantee fun and a sense of achievement for all those who take part. All we need now is a long hot summer which unfortunately is outwith our control!”

Project Return Development Worker Tommy Dey said

 "Keeping active and the outdoors are vital in supporting positive mental health and I’m excited to be part of Staf’s Summer Sessions with the Forestry commission .The Summer Sessions are a great opportunity for young people with care experience and the staff they work with to come together and take part in fun activities now that we’re coming out of restrictions. It will also be an opportunity for young people to meet with some of our Project Return team, find out more about what we’ve got coming up and how they can get involved."

The Staf Summer Sessions will take place across the woodlands around Scotland with sessions occurring in the North, South, East and West of the country during the months of July and August. All expenses will be covered including travel, catering and equipment to ensure there are no barriers to participation.

Places are open to organisations which are members of Staf and numbers are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to know more please contact [email protected] or to request a place for a young person you can do so at the following link. 

Request a Staf Summer Sessions Place