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The Cooper Associates Foundation is delighted to have made a donation of £5,000 to Otterhead Forest School.

Otterhead Forest School, based in the Blackdown Hills, uses a woodland environment to engage and connect with young people, supporting their holistic development. They offer social, emotional and mental health provision to local schools.

Joe Corrick, Manager of Otterhead Forest School, explained how our donation is being used.

“We have been working with two young people from a secondary school based in Taunton. The project is well underway, and we are getting positive feedback from the school and, more importantly, from the parents. Both sets of parents have been so grateful for the opportunity this project has given their children. They have commented on how on a Tuesday morning, they are up, out of bed and ready to come to Forest School – a change in motivation and a sense of belonging.

The students have relished time and space away from the busy classroom. It is clear to see how hard they are both trying in school, both able to communicate their frustrations and identify where and why school life is starting to get difficult. We are nurturing their confidence and celebrating their skills outside of school which in turn will build positive self-esteem and identity.

To have time with young people is invaluable and this is what is missing in mainstream education for the majority of students. Working in a preventative fashion is something we feel passionate about, supporting people who are ‘under the radar’, but need social, emotional and mental health support.

Two students from the project are going to return to our Forest School as mentors for younger students, which is testament to the success of the project. They will provide peer support to those who are struggling with pressures in and out of mainstream school.

We are just about to start working with a local primary school this term. This means we will be offering our student support scheme for two days a week and supporting more children – this is all thanks to the Cooper Associates Foundation donation.”

Neil Wyatt, Trustee of The Cooper Associates Foundation, said:

“Our Foundation is delighted to provide Otterhead Forest School with funding for their student support scheme. Otterhead Forest School is creating a safe space for young people to learn and play together, creating opportunities for shared experiences, problem solving and a sense of belonging. It’s clear from the work Joe and his team are doing that they are having a hugely positive impact on young people within our community.”

The Cooper Associates Foundation is always looking for local charities and organisations to support. If you have a charity that is looking for funding we would be delighted to hear from you. Visit the Cooper Associates Foundation for more information.