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Natural Environment Programmes

We are carrying out research into activities and programmes which encourage children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to engage with the natural environment.

We want to understand:

  • What kinds of activities are available for children and young people (aged 8-18)
  • What makes a good programme or activity and why.
  • What encourages children and young people from a disadvantaged background to get involved with activities in the natural environment.
  • If there is anything that makes it harder for children and young people from a disadvantaged background to get involved.

Our findings will help Defra decide how to give more children and young people the opportunity to spend time in the natural environment.

Why take part?

You will be helping Defra to understand how they can help more children and young people to experience the natural world around them. Your views, knowledge and experiences will be used to understand what activities children and young people enjoy and what might encourage them to get involved in the natural environment.

What’s involved?

Taking part in the study will involve different things depending on which stage of the research you are taking part in. This could include an interview, a short survey or a group discussion in your local area.

Interviews with national organisations

At the start of the study we will speak to staff who work for natural environment organisations across the UK. We will be asking about the kinds of activities the organisation offers nationally and how disadvantaged children and young people are involved.

The interviews last about 50 minutes and take place over the telephone.

Survey of organisations

In the summer we will conduct a survey of organisations that run activities for children and young people in the natural environment.  This survey will be sent to organisations that work in these eight areas:

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Hackney
  • Hastings
  • Plymouth
  • Sandwell
  • Sunderland

 The survey will ask about the types of activities organisations provide for children and young people in these areas. This will include questions about the kinds of natural environment (e.g. city parks, community gardens, farmlands) that children spend time in during these activities as well as what how children and young people might benefit from taking part.

Organisations will be asked how they engage disadvantaged children and young people and what might encourage or discourage them from getting involved.

The survey should take up to 15 minutes and participation is voluntary, anonymous and confidential.

Case studies

We will carry out in-depth research in four local areas.

If you are an activity provider, we might ask you to take part in a face-to-face interview for this stage of the research. This will last no longer than an hour and will be an opportunity for you to share your experiences and views on the best ways to provide activities for disadvantaged children and young people.

We will seek to speak to children and young people in these four local areas.  Group discussions will be organised locally. If you are invited to take part in one of these, we want to hear about your experiences of taking part in natural environment activities; what might stop or encourage children and young people from taking part and the changes you would like to see.

You will take part in the discussion with other children and young people and we will offer you a £15 shopping voucher to thank you for your time. The discussion will last up to 90 minutes.

Do I have to answer all the questions?

Don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, we can just skip on to the next one.

How will you deal with my personal information?

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and GDPR. You can find out more about our credentials and who we are <here – links to Who are NatCen page> and how we protect your personal information <here – links to Our pledge to you page>.

Where can I find out more?

For anything not covered on here, please email NEP@natcen.ac.uk. A member of the team will get back to you to answer your query as soon as possible.