Skip to main content

Outdoor Essentials Grant

Applications for this Grant are now closed

The Outdoor Essentials Grant is an award to UK state-funded Primary, Special and Secondary Schools to enable them to get their pupils learning outdoors.

For the current round of funding, The Ernest Cook Trust is awarding grants within two defined geographical areas. The Outdoor Essentials Grant is therefore available to schools located within the following postcode prefixes only:

Cumbria/Lancashire hub area: BB, CA, FY, LA, PR

Gloucestershire hub area: BS, GL, SN

Priority will be given to schools with underserved pupils in areas of high deprivation.

An award of £500 is offered to Primary and Special Schools and a double award of 2 x £500 (£1,000) to Secondary Schools.

Grants are available for the following options:

Nature & Nurture – school grounds improvements

Transport & Travel – transport costs to Outdoor Learning venues

Wellies & Waterproofs – outdoor clothing

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 which 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.

Outdoor Essentials Grant
– Transport & Travel

Being outdoors benefits the mental and physical wellbeing of everyone. Research commissioned by The Ernest Cook Trust has identified that transport costs are a key barrier for schools to access Outdoor Learning. We are also aware that the cost of living crisis has highlighted inequalities in people’s ability to access the outdoors.

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
– Wellies & Waterproofs

The cost of living crisis has highlighted inequalities in people’s abilities to access the outdoors. Being unable to access appropriate outdoor clothing and equipment has been identified as a key barrier for schools who want to engage in Outdoor Learning. This grant helps to fund outdoor clothing to enable children and young people to learn outdoors.

How much grant funding will each school receive?

£500 per Primary School

£500 per Special School

£1,000 per Secondary School

What can we fund?
  • Any UK state-funded Ofsted (or regional equivalent) registered Primary, Middle, Secondary or High School located within one of the defined geographical areas (see above)
  • Any UK state-funded Special or Alternative Provision School located within one of the defined geographical areas (see above)
  • Multi Academy Trusts, but applications must be made by the individual schools
What can’t we fund?
  • Individuals
  • Independent Schools
  • Nursery Schools
  • Playgroups
  • Any school outside the specific UK postcodes listed above
  • 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 with underserved pupils
  • Schools that are located in areas of high deprivation and/or have pupils who are living in challenging circumstances
  • 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
  • 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, the application window is now closed. Please check our social media channels and this webpage for new of further rounds in 2024.