The Milestones project, which was delivered by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Youth Action Wiltshire, connected 2,157 vulnerable young people to their local, natural environment by offering opportunities to participate in practical activities and widen their knowledge and appreciation of local green spaces. The overarching theme of Milestones was building trust and fostering an appreciation and connection with the environment. This approach had beneficial effects on wellbeing, behaviour and social integration.
Activities were delivered through three main strands, and, later in the programme, through the development of the Lakeside Care Farm, which now exists as a part of the Milestones legacy. The project delivered:
  • 63 Alternative Curriculum programmes
  • 229 ‘Touch base with nature’, ‘one off’ days
  • 34 ‘Stay in touch with nature’ days
  • 38 ‘Leaders in nature’ and ambassador training days
  • 20 ‘Leaders in nature’ residential trips
  • 27 Youth Offending Team ‘one off’ or ‘short term’ sessions
  • the creation of a Youth Forum
Formal research of the project was led by Reading University and backed up by staff observations, feedback, quotes, case studies and created or improved community green spaces. Below are the percentage of participants who responded ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ to the related statements:
85% ‘have more knowledge about nature and the environment’
85% ‘have more skills connected with working outside with nature and the environment’
85% ‘will take more care of nature and the environment’
86% ‘appreciate nature and the environment more now’
88% ‘I wanted to try more activities’
94% ‘I would love to be involved on another project in the future’
‘I feel happy inside as I get to explore the woods as well as learn new skills, also I can de-stress’
622 young people gained 1,515 nationally recognised awards and accreditations which has helped them build confidence, self-esteem and improve their future employability.
481 environmental projects were completed and 56 community green spaces were created, improved or maintained.
You can read more about some of the summer activities in this blog, the care farm in this blog and see what a positive effect the project through Jack’s real story.