Located on Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh the Youth Options Outdoor Learning Centre is a dedicated outdoor space to deliver a variety of programmes that engage young people with nature as a tool to develop their social and emotional capabilities, engage with learning and make positive decisions.
Work began in October 2020 to develop the once disused garden centre into a 3.16 acre site with an aim of opening fully in July 2021.
Why is it Needed?
- It is widely reported that children and young people are spending more and more time indoors. As time spent outside decreases, children and young people are experiencing increasingly poor levels of mental health and wellbeing.
- There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that positive engagement with nature and the natural environment can lead to a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression which are all factors that affect mental and physical well-being.
- The pandemic has seen an increase in the demand for our current outdoor learning services. This is for two reasons; a preference for outdoor activity due to infection control, and an increase in the number of young people experiencing issues as a result of the pandemic.
What Will it Offer?
Youth Options Outdoor Learning Centre provides a dedicated space for children and young people to be outside, engage with nature, and participate in outdoor learning. It will consist of:
- a re-purposed classroom
- a wooded area
- forest school sites
- two poly-tunnels
- habitat sites
- toilets and a car park
- office area for staff managing the centre
The Centre offers a range of services that appeal to children, young people and families including targeted intervention projects, holiday activity camps and site hire. This will include:
- Targeted programmes for children and young people
- Services for schools
- Holiday clubs
- Forest School
- Conservation skills
- Accreditations such as the John Muir Award
Our staff will support children and young people to learn about the natural world, encourage personal development, learn new skills, improve levels of mental health and wellbeing, engage with learning and develop their social and emotional capabilities.