BARNSLEY youngsters are among more than 115,000 pupils who have benefited from the ground-breaking Generation Green project.

Pupils from Joseph Locke Primary School, Oakwell Rise Primary Academy and Worsbrough Common Primary School had an adventure away from home at youth hostels in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales where they enjoyed a Connecting to Nature residential.

Their experience was funded by the £2.5m project which prioritised young people living in areas of deprivation, black and minority ethnic groups, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For many of the young people involved Generation Green activities over the last 16 months, it was the first time they had had the opportunity to connect with nature.

In addition to 39,476 residential and day trips, Generation Green provided funding for 33 jobs and training for 767 skilled volunteers and outdoor leaders throughout the project,

The project delivery partners - YHA (England and Wales), Girlguiding, Scouts, Field Studies Council, The Outward Bound Trust and the ten National Parks - are now calling on the government to fund more life-changing experiences in nature and the outdoors for children and young people.

As well as youth hostels stays, thousands of young people across England took up opportunities to connect with nature through a number of funded projects offered by the project delivery partners.

Anita Kerwin-Nye, Generation Green sponsor, said: “Together we have made great strides in 16 months, but this should be the start and not the end.

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“Through the delivery of Generation Green, we have developed a tried and tested, and successful model to connect children and young people with nature.

“At a time of limited resource this is a model of where charity collaboration rather than competition increases impact.

“The reach, outputs and outcomes speak for themselves.”