As December reaches its anticipated peak with Christmas only a few days away, my thoughts have turned (as many have I imagine) to the end of 2020 and to a recap of what has gone. This last year has been like none that any of us have experienced before and as it draws to a close, there is still a lot of uncertainty, fear and discord around the globe. However, I’d like to suggest that we try and finish the year with a little bit of hope, if possible.
Sitting with Sadness
Before we can start to think about hope, about celebrating smalls wins, it is necessary to acknowledge the losses that vast swathes of the population have experienced this year. It is necessary to sit with the sadness, to comfort those who are grieving. There is nothing we can say to alleviate the pain so many people are feeling, particularly as they approach their first Christmas without their loved ones. But to anyone reading this who has experienced loss, illness or other pain this year, we send you our love and thoughts.
This year has been unbelievably cruel and unfortunately it’s not over yet. At times it seems like the bad news is relentless but we must gather together (if only in spirit due to restrictions), take hope and work together for a better 2021.
Finding the Silver Linings
Thankfully, hope is starting to show itself in some tangible ways. Firstly, there are working, approved vaccines that are starting to be rolled out in communities around the country. This is the first glimmer of positivity that life might resume to some semblance of normality in the not-too-distant future.
Sometimes, it’s about celebrating wins, no matter how small – whether that be loved ones getting engaged, children passing exams, babies being born, personal achievements, a community coming together to support each other or even just a day where the kids don’t bicker – now more than ever it’s important to acknowledge these! As a company, The Outdoors Group, has some wins from 2021 that we’d like to celebrate with you…
- It feels like an another lifetime but Ofsted came to visit The Outdoors School pre-lockdown and not only did we survive(!), but they were happy with what they saw, offering tips for improvement and encouragement for us to continue with the work we do
- We went on a massive recruitment drive, boosting the local economy by employing dozens more people throughout all areas of the business
- Research into our TLP provision shows that over 80% of our learners are able to access education more successfully after sessions with us
- Although we can’t name individual children, many of our learners at The Outdoors School have made amazing progress, both academically and socially this year, despite the disruption of the pandemic
- Our Forest School provision has been busier than ever with more children joining us in the woods for Toddler Clubs, Home Education Groups and Holiday Clubs
- In 2021 we are launching not one but four new adult training courses (Autism Outdoors, Learning Beyond the Classroom, Outdoor Mental Health First Aid and Paediatric/Outdoor First Aid) and we are so excited about them!
- We have successfully supported dozens of children throughout the pandemic, giving them the consistency and support they need to thrive
Looking Ahead to 2021
I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lot riding on 2021. After such a disruptive and devastating year, many of us are hoping desperately for a more positive outcome for next year. The sun is setting on a historically dramatic year and about to rise on a new day. From all of us here at The Outdoors Group, we wish you a Happy Christmas and a New Year full of peace, happiness and good health. To quote J.R.R. Tolkein in his much loved book (The Fellowship of the Ring)
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
Author: Hannah Durdin, Administrator & Forest School Leader
Date: Wednesday 23rd December 2020