WATERPROOFS & WELLIES
We have a dream. We want to provide one million primary school aged children across the United Kingdom with the means to be able to get outdoors and explore all that the natural world has to offer.
Who are we?
The Waterproofs & Wellies Project is a charitable scheme championed by The Outdoor Guide through its charity branch The Outdoor Guide Foundation.
The Outdoor Guide is the online hub for all things walking in the United Kingdom. Fronted by Julia Bradbury, the site provides you with suggested walking routes along with recommendations for places to stop to eat, drink and sleep along the way.
We want to see people getting outside and enjoying the natural wonders that are all around us. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to this project.
Whilst in the midst of one global pandemic it has become clear that we are facing others – namely obesity and a mental health crisis.
The World Health Organisation has warned of a looming global mental health crisis as a result of Covid-19 (1).
• 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life.
• 1 in 10 school children have a diagnosable mental health condition.
• 75% of all mental health problems are established by the time someone is 18.
• 75% of young people who are experiencing mental health problems aren’t receiving any treatment.
• The estimated cost of mental health in the UK is over £100billion each year.(2)
Already battered health care providers around the world will be having to deal with the fall out.
Or will they? Is there another way?
In July 2020 our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, launched his plan to tackle the obesity crisis (3) that is looming in the United Kingdom. He set out plans for exercise to be prescribed on the NHS. A great idea in theory – but in reality,
getting outside – whether for walking, bird watching or cycling to begin with would reduce the need for it to be prescribed by the NHS at a later date.
It’s not just the weight issue – there are so many health benefits to being outside, in green spaces. Studies carried out over the past have shown that:
• Walking improves the performance of the heart, lungs and circulation
• Helps to lower blood pressure
• Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes
• Reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes
• Reduces the risk of some cancers including colon, breast and lung.
• Improves flexibility and strength of joints, muscles and bones.
• Boosts the immune system
• Helps manage weight
• Boosts mental health (4)
Studies have also shown that children diagnosed with ADHD display fewer signs of the condition after being exposed to a green environment.
Prescribing time outdoors isn’t something new. In the Shetland Islands it’s already being prescribed to treat a
number of conditions including stress, diabetes, mental health and heart disease (alongside other treatments).
This project isn’t just about protecting our mental and physical health. It’s about getting people to protect our natural world too. The more time someone spends outdoors the more they get to know it, to understand it, to love it and to
realise why the natural world needs protecting. We believe that by introducing primary school children to the natural
world we can create the next generation of Attenboroughs or Thunbergs.
Why get kids outside?
• Educational benefits include an increase in concentration, hand to eye coordination and fine motor skills as well as self-awareness and improved sleep, which in turn leads to better behaviour. 95% of young people surveyed by Plymouth University said outdoor learning makes lessons more enjoyable.
• Isolation is a big problem with young people and the outdoors allows for them to work together and develop emotionally, increasing social interaction and empathy. It also enhances personal skills and cooperation. Outdoor learning also extends the curriculum and increases the range and quality of learning for
pupils. All of which are objectives of Ofsted.
• The Children’s Society says that spending time outdoors and in nature enhances a young person’s short and long-term wellbeing. It is also known to improve mental development and personal fulfilment.
• Mind says that there are huge health benefits in all age ranges including a reduction in anger, stress, anxiety and an increase in physical fitness as well as a sense of balance and personal awareness.
• In the United Kingdom in 2018-19 there were 4.2million children living below the poverty line.
• That’s the equivalent of 9 children in every class of 30 children.
• Children from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be in poverty – 46% are living in poverty
compared to 26% of children in white British families.
• 72% of children who are growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one person works.(5)
Anecdotally we have found that one of the reasons kids aren’t getting outside is that they don’t have the appropriate
clothing to wear – especially for wet weather (we’re in Britain … wet weather is a strong possibility). After all – there is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes.
“Currently, we plan ahead and text parents to bring in suitable kit; this has drawbacks as kit is forgotten, or inappropriate for that day’s weather etc. It would be so nice to be able to grab 30 kits straight off the shelf and go out
into the countryside at a moment’s notice. The issue is how we would fund purchasing 30 kits. Sadly, as a small
school, funding is extremely tight and we only have a limited number of children who have PP funding.” A Teacher
from the Pennines told us.
We’re not talking about anything technical – a pair of wellington boots along with a waterproof jacket and trousers and you’re ready for anything. We have been negotiating with suppliers to find a cost effective way of making these
Julia Bradbury says, “I’m passionate and very vocal about the need to address the issues caused by litter in our urban and rural environments. But talking and raising awareness
needs to be backed up with direct action to tackle the problems. I am thrilled to be supporting this and encouraging more children to get outside in all weathers! These packs have been sourced as the basic gear that will allow children to have wonderful outdoor
experiences, whatever the weather.”
Why do we need you?
For some parents – the cost of this kit is affordable. And for those parents – we will be selling the kits via The Outdoor Guide website at cost price.
We also know that there are many families across the United Kingdom living on or below the poverty line – those who have to choose between money in the meter or food on the table
on a regular basis. For these families we know that these kits are seen almost as a luxury item. These are the families
we need your help to support. With your support – we will donate a minimum of 10 kits to a primary school so kits
are available to be used by the children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them.
(1) htpps://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/facing-mental-health-fallout-from-the-1 coronavirus-pandemic
(2) The Children’s Society https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-blog/mental-health-statistics
(4) Ramblers Association – https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/facts-and-stats-about-walking/health-benefits-of-walking.aspx
(5) Child Poverty Action Group – https://cpag.org.uk/child-poverty/child-poverty-facts-and-figures
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