Outdoor Activity Group
Funded by Active Essex, community group Woodland Warriors offers outdoor activities tailored to the emotional, social and sensory needs of neurodivergent children and young people in Basildon.
Activities offered such as tree climbing, obstacle courses, archery, litter picking, woodland walks, gardening and crafts have reduced social isolation and helped young children get active in fresh air.
The group has endeared themselves to the other park groups and have assisted friends of Memorial Park with building bug hotels and planting bulbs. Wickford Bowling Club have also allowed the group to use a plot in their fenced off club area as a small allotment.
The sessions are fully inclusive, with no pressure for children to participate. The club is set up to make young people feel accepted and welcome, also to try activities at their own pace.
Several children who have attended the group failed school placement who were suffering from trauma, and as a result, are now back in school due to the increased confidence and support from attending the activity sessions.
Having the prominent position in Memorial Park has positively impacted the wider community’s understanding of autism and neurodiversity. Residents now greet each other when passing the group and have become aware of the sessions offered, they also have enquired on how they can get their children to attend.
Working with Active Essex has further developed relationships with Public Health to expand the inclusive sports pathway being developed with Essex FA. MyOTAS held a very successful pilot, delivering CPD to 20 football coaches, providing information about neurodiversity (ND) and discussing ways to integrate this into young people’s teams.