When it comes to the outdoors; inequality does not tend to enter the conversation. Yet studies show that children from poorer areas have less access to the outdoors than those with more economic advantages (see here). This can occur for a whole host of reasons; because often poverty is more concentrated in inner city areas, because schools in these areas have less access to funds to provide these facilities, because of the stress of working life…..
But for those with eyes to see it- nature doesn’t just exist in vast, green landscapes criss-crossed by babbling brooks. Nature can peep through the cracks of even the most urban sites; the weeds at the end of your yard, the magpies cawing on the rooftop. Trouble is- the ardour and stress of modern life doesn’t give us the eyes to see it, which is why sometimes we need to take time away from what we know and encounter a new perspective by embarking on a new experience.
At Mud Pie Academy, our aim is to make these experiences available to all families, for both children and parents. We want to imbue familiar environments with a sense of wonder and bring together communities to appreciate these wonders. This means that we have to set some of our roots a little closer to home in the minute corners of wildness that exist in our parks.
This is all very well, but another obstacle to getting families outdoors is cost. We are two young people and lets face it; we need to make a living if we are going to make this project sustainable. In addition to this, being able to provide high quality, safe outdoor equipment is tough if we want to keep costs for our sessions as low as we can. That’s why we’re dabbling in crowdfunding as this provides a forum for people with money to invest to support projects like this which can be made affordable for families which are struggling.
It’s a brave pursuit because we are small and local and our resources are minimal but with a dash of inventiveness and a little help from our communities, our vision could become a reality.