A sponsored Arts Activity day at Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston

We survived the mud and the rain to give 12 Young Carers and accompanying staff from the Blackburn area a visit to Brockholes – an exciting Wildlife venue with floating buildings (part of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust).  We enjoyed various outdoor adventures culminating in a bonfire with marshmallows and hot chocolate.

The young carers, aged from 9 to 23, each care for sick family members, mostly parents, at the same time as continuing their education – the 23 year-old finishes her MA this year.  They are supported by Local Authority organisations with advice and opportunities for exercise and friendship with others in similar situations.

Led by the Brockholes education staff, off we trooped with a wheelbarrow full of equipment and resources to the ‘Deep, Dark, Wood ‘ area of the nature reserve, apply named but importantly providing a canvas shelter from the rain.  The young people completed a walk and foraging quiz, whittled logs, learned to use knives and saws safely, used natural materials to make their own artistic creation to take home and learned to light fires with flints – sparks definitely flew and they loved the challenge of lighting cotton wool balls first as a practice before the real fire was lit.  There is a knack!

The young people decorated the logs provided and cut the wooden discs themselves – something to remember the day by and show their friends and families.  One of The Arts Society members read aloud a poem by Robert Frost:

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep

It was a particularly poignant moment when one of the young people chose to write this out fully on her log.

We, supported by Community Grant, provided transport and lunch and paid for the input of the education team at Brockholes.  What an enjoyable day it was and a rewarding example of Arts Appreciation extending into a community of younger people.  It was made extra special by the appreciation of the young people themselves who are a credit to themselves and to us all.

Ruth Hurst

Learning to saw safely
By the fire
Disc beautifully decorated
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