Why it matters

Our vision:

Every child in London can play in nature on their doorstep

Sowing the Seeds the report commissioned by the Mayor of London’s Sustainable Development Commission, found that:

Desire: Surveys consistently show that children and their parents value chances to have contact with nature and would like to get outdoors more

Decline: Children’s experiences of natural places in London are in long-term decline. The decline is steeper for children in poorer families and some Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

Rare: 1/3 of London families visits natural places only every 2 months or less often. 1 in 7 London families had not made a single visit to a natural place in a year.

Barriers: Children in London face extra barriers to accessing nature because of high population densities, pressure on and deficiencies in local green spaces, and poorer access to private gardens.

Pressures: Legitimate fears for children’s safety plus pressures on their time such as from schooling and the use of technology places competing demands on children’s time despite evidence that contact with nature can aid learning, health and well being

Reach: Some London children depend on their experiences of nature on schools and organisations such a play clubs, city farms and nature reserves. But these reach only a small proportion (4%) of London’s children

Benefit: Studies show children gain a range of benefits from spending time in nature.

 

‘A balanced diet’
The Sowing the Seeds report makes 12 recommendations focused on the goal of offering children a ‘balanced diet of everyday nature experiences’. Access a summary of the recommendations here.

Each recommendation would support and promote children’s healthy development, well-being, health, confidence, self-reliance and attitudes to risks.

That is why our vision is:

Every child in London can play in nature on their doorstep

We are fortunate enough to have the support from Tanya Byron, Consultant Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologist:

tanya byron

Tanya Byron

‘Urban children today face so many pressures. City life can pile up, confuse and overwhelm. We all need space to breathe – but especially children.

Our precious natural places, however small, are the breathing spaces children and their families need to enjoy being in, playing in and learning in.

Access to nearby nature is part of having decent housing, schools, transport and public services.

We know that the best cities are those where people are not hemmed in by concrete, and where children can enjoy a daily dose of nature. Yet London’s growth is putting a strain on communities and green space.

That’s why I support Sowing the Seeds London – the grassroots network championing children’s access to nature – in their goal to ensure that every child in the capital can play in nature on their doorstep’

Professor Tanya Byron

 

‘My ambition is that this generation will be more connected to food, nature and the countryside than ours is. I want every child to know the joy and wonder of the great outdoors. Our children should be climbing trees, not the walls’

Liz Truss MP, UK Environmental Secretary, October 2015

 

‘There is a wide range of evidence showing that contact with nature enhances children’s education, personal and social skills, health and well-being, leading to the development of responsible citizens. However, research also shows that the connections between young people and nature are weaker now than in the past. Children are becoming disconnected from the natural environment. They are spending less and less time outdoors. In fact, the likelihood of children visiting any green space at all has halved in a generation. Young people themselves say that outdoor space is one of the things that they need to ‘feel good and do well’.

UK Government, The Natural Choice, Natural Environment White Paper, 2011

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