Severn Rivers Trust awarded grant to help young people connect with nature


Severn Rivers Trust has benefited from a £60,000 grant aimed at helping get young people outdoors.

The charity’s community engagement team has been awarded the grant from UK educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust.

Spread across three years, the grant is helping to fund the salary of a River Engagement Officer to run outdoor learning activities in Gloucestershire.

The project will enable at least 750 children per year to take part our education programme, reconnecting them to the outdoors, particularly the hidden world of rivers like the Severn. Using local hubs including Gloucester, Stroud and Lydney, the project will engage children in fun, exploratory and inspiring river themed outdoor activities that can reduce isolation, rebuild confidence and self-esteem, and connect communities to nature.

Alice Fallon, Head of Community Engagement at Severn Rivers Trust said,

“We were absolutely thrilled that our funding bid was successful for the Gloucestershire outdoor learning project. By targeting activities at young people from underserved communities, Severn Rivers Trust will seek to remove barriers to outdoor river engagement ensuring every child can enjoy being outdoors and is given a chance to develop a lifelong love for nature.”

Introducing our River Engagement Officer Becky Titchard:

Becky joined Severn Rivers Trust just before Christmas and she has already been busy developing a new offer of assemblies and classroom sessions for schools. She is also leading our riverside workshops for families. Becky is based in Gloucester and is excited to be able to reach more people around her home town.

Becky says, “The Ernest Cook Trust funding will allow us to reach urban communities that often lack the opportunities to explore and experience the natural environment, such as the River Severn. I am incredibly excited and proud to be delivering a ‘learning by doing’ programme across schools, libraries and local communities in Gloucestershire. We are looking for opportunities to partner with local schools, venues and youth groups, so if you have ideas for ways we can connect with more young people around the county, please get in touch! We also want to hear from local teachers too.”

Contact with a message for Becky.


Notes to editors:

About the Severn Rivers Trust

The Severn Rivers Trust are an independent environmental charity established in 2008 to protect and enhance the river Severn, its tributaries and streams. The Severn Rivers Trust is the only organisation that covers the whole of the UK’s longest river in both England and Wales. Our staff have an intimate understanding of the region, and the needs of the freshwater environments. We’re proactive and hands on, working with farmers, land managers and communities to deliver ecological restoration at a local level, with landscape-wide impacts.

About the Outdoor Learning Grant

Severn Rivers Trust was among ten charities and non-profit organisations to receive a grant from The Ernest Cook Trust, which combined, totalled more than £588,000. Each organisation was awarded up to £20,000 per year, for three years. This was the fourth cohort of Outdoor Learning Officers to be funded by The Ernest Cook Trust.

In this funding round, the Trust was looking to support organisations in the Lancashire/Cumbria, Leicestershire, and Wiltshire/Gloucestershire areas, so it was a perfect fit for the work of Severn Rivers trust, helping us expand our reach in the lower Severn.

Ed Ikin, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said each of the organisations receiving the grant had demonstrated their commitment to helping young people get outdoors to become better connected with nature.

“At The Ernest Cook Trust, we’ve developed real expertise and have a growing body of evidence to prove that our principles of Outdoor Learning genuinely improve the lives of young people. We share this approach through our Outdoor Learning Officers Grant, which supports organisations to employ inspirational role models for young people in outdoor settings.

“We want to see national recognition that being in nature is a fundamental good for everybody, that everyone deserves the chance to spend time in nature.”

About the Ernest Cook Trust (project funder)

The Ernest Cook Trust is a UK educational charity committed to helping young people and their communities develop a lifelong journey of learning, appreciation and respect for the countryside through a range of Outdoor Learning experiences.

The Trust delivers programmes on its own estates and with partner estates. Through grant-giving, it supports other organisations in the field of Outdoor Learning. Over the last four years the Trust has granted about £1.3m to supporting Outdoor Learning Officer roles in host organisations across the UK.

For more information about The Ernest Cook Trust, visit

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