Time in the Outdoors – a great topic for a Health & Wellbeing festival

Talking at festivals

Recently we’ve been touring the country talking at various festivals about our story, the life changes that we’ve made and what is important to us: family time and getting outdoors. The last three festivals that we’ve talked at have been a literary festival, an outdoor / adventure festival and, most recently, a health and well being festival. Each festival had a different agenda, audience and outcome but each proved to be a valuable platform to talk about and share ideas for spending time with your family in the Great Outdoors.

Why the Great Outdoors is good for you

The natural world has long been associated with health; it can have a positive impact on us both physically and mentally. The problem is that we live in a modern world that increasingly pulls away from nature and time in the outdoors. Science tells us that spending time in the outdoors helps both our bodies and our brains – getting outside makes us happier – but so many of us struggle to balance our work with other aspects of our life, so many children spend less and less time outdoors.

In fact, RSPB research in 2013 found that only 1 out of 5 children have a connection with nature. It highlights that being connected with nature has a positive impact on education, physical health, emotional well being, personal and social skills and helps towards becoming responsible citizens. This is reiterated by Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) who said,”the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses.”
UNICEF happiness report has identified British children as some of the unhappiest amongst the world’s richest nations and the IKEA play report in 2015 identified that British parents and children “feel that they do not have enough time to play together, with stress, mobile technology and work getting in the way of family time.” They surveyed over 1,000 British children to find out what would make them happier and help bring children and their parents together. Getting outside together was second on the list (after parents coming home from work earlier).We understand the need to spend time in the outdoors from a personal level and through continued reading of research, as above. It is also a topic that we highlight in the talks that we give around the country, whether they are at literary festivals or adventure festivals. It seemed particularly apt at our last venue:

Pennine Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Celebration

This well-organised, professional, and well-executed conference on September 29th, aimed to highlight good practice and innovation that has taken place in the area over recent years, as well as offering the chance to hear about exciting developments happening right now. A mixture of health and social care professionals, service users and members of the public spent time mingled amongst the impressive surroundings of Blackburn cathedral, promoting ideas and services with each other, and sharing stories. We were invited to share our story and promote the health benefits of the Great Outdoors.

The girls also had their own slot and talked about the health issues associated with single-use plastic.
Their water table providing further information about the issue was set up throughout the day and had a regular flow of visitors.

We felt honoured to be asked to be part of the day; we benefited from the opportunity to hear other fascinating talks throughout the day and were impressed by the event overall and its organisers.

Photo credits: timbradleyphotography.com

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