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Outdoor Essentials Grant

(Applications for this grant are currently closed)

The Outdoor Essentials Grant is a £500 award to UK state funded Primary and Secondary schools to enable them to get their pupils learning outdoors.

The current round of funding is for grants to be used for

  • Transport & Travel costs to Outdoor Learning venues.
  • Nature & Nurture projects to create areas where young people can connect with nature within school grounds or within the local community.

Outdoor Essentials Grant – Transport & Travel

The COVID pandemic has demonstrated how important being outdoors is to the mental and physical wellbeing of everyone. It has also highlighted inequalities in people’s abilities to access the outdoors. Research commissioned by The Ernest Cook Trust has identified that transport costs are a key barrier for schools to access Outdoor Learning.

We believe that all children and young people should have the opportunity to create lasting, meaningful connections with nature. Therefore, this grant supports school travel and transport costs to any centre or provider that can facilitate these ambitions, including: outdoor learning centres, forest schools, countryside parks, woodlands, national parks, farm parks, farms (including city farms), coastal areas and beaches. Trips to outdoor adventure centres for outdoor activities (such as kayaking and climbing) may be considered, but nature connection and environmental learning must be the primary focus.

Outdoor Essentials Grant – Nature & Nurture

To enable young people to be connected to nature and the recognised benefits that this has to their wellbeing, this grant is available to schools to enhance ‘nature on the doorstep’ through improvements to school grounds or areas within their local community. The ambition is to see projects that provide for outdoor learning and improvements to biodiversity and could include wildflower meadows, creation of raised beds, allotment gardens, ponds, woodland areas or sensory gardens. The grant can also be used for the purchase of outdoor learning resources that engage young people with the environment such as bug hotels, bird boxes and mini-beast investigation kits. The grant cannot be used to fund capital infrastructure such as school playground equipment or storage sheds.

How much grant funding will each school receive?

£500 per school.

What can we fund?
  • £500 per school to be used to pay for transport and travel to Outdoor Learning venues or to fund projects that provide nature on the doorstep.
  • Any UK state funded Ofsted Registered Primary, Middle, Secondary or High school.
  • Any UK state funded Special or Alternative Provision School.
  • Multi Academy Trusts, but applications must be made by the individual schools.
What can’t we fund?
  • Individuals.
  • Independent Schools.
  • Nursery Schools.
  • Pre-Schools.
  • Playgroups.
  • Any school outside the UK.
  • Youth groups or clubs, as this is a fund for state schools only.
  • Outdoor Learning organisations/registered charities, eg forest schools.
  • Parent Teacher Associations, Governors or ‘Friends of …’ Trusts. Applications must be made directly from the school.
Who do we prioritise?
  • Schools who are committed to enabling Outdoor Learning and see environmental engagement as an important part of education.
  • Schools who can demonstrate that Outdoor Learning has a wider benefit to families and their local community.
  • Schools with disadvantaged pupils.
  • Schools that are located in areas of high deprivation and/or have pupils who are living in challenging circumstances.
  • Those schools who have not received an Outdoor Essentials grant from us before.
Application process

Thank you for your interest in applying for the Outdoor Essentials Grant. Due to an unprecedented demand for this grant we have had to close to new applications. We are planning to open a further round in early 2022.