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A CLEVEDON man with fond memories of playing in the woods as a youngster is launching his own forest school so that children across 

North Somerset can enjoy outdoor play.

 

Sam Harrison is launching @Play in the woods in April, when he finishes his role as a play ranger for North Somerset Council to provide children and families bush-craft skills, fire safety, shelter-building, safety knots and basic cooking skills.

 

 Sam, 25, is currently a play ranger for North Somerset Council, based in Clevedon.

 

But the role is being made redundant as the council has to make savings following the government’s austerity cuts and Sam wants to continue providing opportunities for children and families to explore nature in a forest school setting, where they can learn life skills.

 

Mr Harrison, who has been a play ranger for the past three-and-a-half years, said: “My experience as working as part of the play ranger team has shown me that there is a need to continue providing opportunities for children and their families.

 

“In 2009 I started a project, teaching the students of primary and secondary schools bush-craft skills, fire safety, shelter-building, safety knots and basic cooking skills.

 

“@Play in the woods will keep up this essential work and also host parties for groups and still be working with primary and secondary schools throughout North Somerset.”

 

Mr Harrison, remembers playing in the woods when he was a child and taking walks with his parents, friends and other family members but said more and more children do not have the opportunity to play outdoors.

 

He said: “I always played in the woods and remember making bows and arrows and thinking I was Robin Hood. I was also always on scout camps and took part in all sorts of skills days, which included climbing, archery, shooting and abseiling.

 

“More and more children these days though don’t have the chance to go outside and play.

 

“I feel very strongly that all children should have the chance to be able to play outside where they feel safe.”

 

@Play in the woods will provide community groups, local groups and other organisations with the experience of learning through playing outdoors.

 

Mr Harrison is based in Clevedon but is happy to travel to different setting where he mixes a working ethos with play, using nature as a tool to develop personal skills, and learning to be part of a team.

 

He added: “At the end of the Play Pod project in North Somerset there is a gap for more play in North Somerset and it is still needed.

 

“Working with other members of the old team we plan to keep going as we have been doing over the last three years.

 

 Anyone who would like more information can email sam@forestschool.tk or visit http://atplayinthewoods.tk.  or www.forestschool.tk

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