Bedfordshire charity's donation will help give children 'Country Days'

Country Days was set up to support disadvantaged children in Bedfordshire

Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 12:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 12:30 pm

A Bedfordshire charity that specialises in showing children the benefit and understanding of the rural environment has received a donation from the Connolly Foundation.

Country Days was the brainchild of Ann Hadfield MBE, who believed that children should understand and enjoy the rural environment. It was set up to support and nurture disadvantaged seven to 11-year-olds in Bedfordshire.

The aim is to combine learning with fun, whilst building soft skills such as confidence, teamwork and social interaction. A six-acre field at Felmersham was developed as a nature reserve to host courses for children in Bedford.

The Country Days nature reserve

It has 33 varieties of trees, deciduous, evergreen and fruit bearing and comprises of one third natural woodland with a pond area hosting great crested newts, a sports area and a rain shelter.

Ann funded the two pilot courses prior to her death in July 2018,which proved to be a huge success and was the inspiration to form the charity.

There is now a team of teachers and staff that run courses that are so popular there is a waiting list.

The courses provide the opportunity for children to learn outside in a natural environment and develop skills which can make a vital difference to their future.

The charity has received £1,000 from the Connolly Foundation.

Helen Orssich, co-founder and trustee, said: “We are thrilled and delighted by the generosity and support we have received.

"It is critical that we provide children, particularly those with little or no access to the outdoors, the opportunity to learn in and enjoy a natural environment.

“The Connolly Foundation’s donation makes a great deal of difference to the future of Country Days going forward and we are really delighted to have it."

The Connolly Foundation is a charity in Bedfordshire that has given more than £5 million to local causes and organisations since its formation over 12 years ago.

The Foundation awards grants in two specific areas, education and support for the frail and elderly.