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Outdoor Essentials Grant

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 and Travel costs to Outdoor Learning venues only.

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.

This grant opportunity will be available three times in 2021. The current round is open from Tuesday 8 June 2021 and 180 grants will be available. The application window will close when sufficient grant applications have been approved.

Schools don’t need to provide a budget, but we will expect you to find a transport provider that offers value for money.

Successful schools will be asked to complete a simple online Feedback Report detailing how many pupils benefitted from the grant.

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.
  • 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.
Application process
  • Applications must be made by a member of staff employed by the school, and approved by the Head Teacher.
  • Applications can be submitted at any time whilst the online application process is open.
  • The Ernest Cook Trust will make award decisions when a threshold number of applications have been received.
  • The Ernest Cook Trust will acknowledge receipt of applications and aim to let all grant applicants know whether or not their application has been successful within eight weeks of receipt of their application.
  • Successful applicants will be asked to complete an Agreement which includes confirming the ability of the organisation to receive the grant by BACS payment.
  • The Agreement also requires the applicant to submit an online feedback form within a year of receiving the grant.
  • Schools are welcome to re-apply for funding, but subsequent applications made within three years will be allocated a lower ranking in the decision-making process and therefore have a lesser chance of success.