The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Milestones project is one of 31 Our Bright Future initiatives across the UK. Each one is equipping 11-24 year olds to make a difference in their local community and for the environment. Our Bright Future is a £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Milestones delivers bespoke nature based programmes aiming to connect young people to their local, natural environment by offering opportunities to participate in practical activities that widen their knowledge, experience and appreciation of the natural environment.
The project also empowers young people to gain the vital skills needed to improve their local environment, fostering a connection to and sense of responsibility for the natural world. Participants are also encouraged to explore ideas, take risks and enjoy the freedom of being outside. The activities and tasks have been designed to support young people to build resilience, self-esteem and confidence, to self-reflect and notice changes within themselves and to have fun. All of which have beneficial effects on emotional and physical wellbeing, behaviour and social communication and integration.
Alongside the wide variety of team-building, practical nature and conservation-based activities, we provide a wide range of training and accreditation opportunities, which help to raise aspirations, as well as enhancing individual progression and employability. The project is currently accessible by referral and prioritises young people who are most in need and are facing challenges in their lives. There are different strands to the project, enabling access through a variety of agencies and throughout the whole year.
Project outcomes so far include:
[i] 1,849 young people have a greater awareness and understanding of nature and their local environment, and improved self-esteem and aspiration
[ii] 369 distinct high-impact, young-person led environmental projects and programmes have been completed, including conservation work on nature reserves and the building of 16 community gardens
[iii] 566 individuals have achieved formal accreditations, which supports young people to be more resilient, and better equipped and trained to be actively involved in improving and contributing to community green spaces and the green economy
[iv] 44 young people are trained and acting as Ambassadors to inspire others and lead future community projects
You can read about the experience of two youngsters on the project here and find out more detail about what the project has achieved here :
2. Meet a Tree
7. Get Growing