Vision England was run by Sense and delivered in partnership with the Field Studies Council and local groups. It engaged more than 300 young people aged 11-24 with an additional need or disability. The project offered day events, residentials, workshops (online and in person) and community projects to improve local greenspaces. Activies were tailored to meet the needs of each group.
In East London, a group wanted to learn more about nature and to travel outside of London. Sense arranged for a canal boat ride in Essex with two members of Field Studies Council to facilitate nature based activities while on the boat: learning about the canals and how they work and operate, birds, surrounding nature. This was a big success, and the group was delighted to have travelled outside of London as a group without parents – which was a first for many of the young people who attended.
A youth group in Sandwell wanted to turn their garden into a space they could actually use as it was very overgrown. Through Vision England, the garden was cleared and the young people planned exactly what they wanted the garden to be used for. Working on independence skills, they wrote lists of what they needed to buy and costed the items and tools according to the budget given went out the following session to buy these items. The group learnt how to dig safely, plant successfully as well as aftercare and maintenance of a garden. The young people added benches and a fire pit into the garden to make it a multipurpose and inviting space.
Residentials can play such an important role for young people as a first
steppingstone to independence and the project witnessed much of this. On the residentials, all participants took part in a hike as well as a conservation activity, which for many of them was the first time they had done anything like that.
Feedback forms at the end of the project stated that:
  • 80% of young people said they cared more about the environment
  • 94% of young people said they enjoyed their sessions
  • 78% of young people said they knew how to help nature more after their sessions
  • 84% said they felt closer to other people in their group during and after the sessions
Through community projects, greenspaces have been improved and made more accessible. At Sense colleges, young people made new paths, planted vegetable and herb patches, built bug hotels and raised beds. A school project focused a lot on birds: identification of birds on appearance and by song while also making and decorating bird boxes and feeders.
Vision England’s evaluation report can be found here.