Five youngsters given awards

25 February 2011, 16:42 | Updated: 8 March 2011, 10:17

What started as a pioneering exploration led to Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society (BDCPS) holding an awards ceremony, on Monday 21st February, at Moggerhanger House, in Bedford.

The event celebrated the achievements of five of BDCPS’s young people, as they were handed their ‘John Muir’ awards by Lady Erroll, Countess of Erroll.

The charity worked in collaboration with Branching Out Forest School to offer an exciting opportunity taking place in a conservation project at Ickwell Bury, where outdoor skills were taken one step further!

7 young people aged between 7- 12 years old took part in the ‘Wild Woods’ activities, in a natural setting for learning and exploration.  Over five days spent at the location, a range of activities allowed the young people to demonstrate learning and understanding of environmental issues.

The conservation project could at first appear to be typically out of bounds to wheelchair users, although this did not deter them.

Facilitators of the hands-on experience; Branching Out Forest School, and Bedford School, helped educate the children during their woodland visits, in terms of identifying the surroundings and introducing biodiversity topics for discussion.

This assignment also allowed the children’s five carers to receive John Muir Awards. The award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment. The Award is open to all, and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust.

During the awards ceremony, one of the young achievers, Rajan Kanda, gave a biographical presentation on the subject of John Muir. It was a real opportunity for the young people to demonstrate to sponsors how funds can expand the provision BDCPS are able to offer as a charity.

Bedford Borough Council supported the venture and administered funds from  ‘Aiming High’ for Disabled Children, a transformation programme to provide better support and improve services for disabled children, young people and their families.

Lady Erroll, Countess of Erroll, who is also a Governor at Grange School, said: “This project has shown how nobody should tell anyone they can’t do something - you can always find a way around a challenge. Any individual can achieve great things if they remain determined. These young people have shown us just that, in achieving these prestigious John Muir Awards.”