This project aimed to give ‘hard to reach’ families the opportunity to come together and enjoy outdoor space, celebrating all that the Brecks has to offer. The project was delivered by Brandon Country Park and Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury district councils. The park hosted three free events that were branded and promoted as ‘Forest Fest’.
The events took place, on 20th February 2015, 21st August 2015 and 3rd June 2016. Lessons were learned from the first event in that they needed to take place in the summer to attracted the largest numbers. The events grew each time, with 30 children attending the first, 255 at the second and 449 at the final one. As families arrived, the children were given a ‘passport’. Each activity they completed they received a stamp for in their passport. Four stamps meant they could collect a free goody bag at the end of the day, filled with lots of outdoor themed goodies. There were lots of activities to get involved in, including foraging for food, creating art from woodland materials, story telling, watching Beastly Brecks play, building shelters, geo-caching and nature trails. 28% of attendees said that they had never been to the forest before and 77%of visitors learned something new about the forest.
The majority of attendees heard of the event through social media and by the third event, the park was running at full capacity with people having to park in the town and walk up due to lack of parking space. There were queues for toilets and activities which will be remedied in the future by hiring additional toilets, and having an even wider range of activities to distribute visitors more.
The events were highly successful with many people astounded that they were free to attend, no doubt a factor in why they became so popular, but at the same time encouraging families who wouldn’t normally visit the forest or outdoors to do so.
Forest Fest feedback