Horsham invited to save natural childhood

The area contains some of the country's most beautiful wildlife, but not all children are getting out to enjoy it.
The area contains some of the country's most beautiful wildlife, but not all children are getting out to enjoy it.

THE NATIONAL Trust has called on Horsham parents to halt the rapid deterioration of their children’s relationship with the outdoors by taking part in a new inquiry.

A report published by author and producer Stephen Moss, best known for producing several TV series with Bill Oddie, says that the rise of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ was worrying.

Half of children are banned from climbing trees, with three times as many hospitalisations from falling out of bed than threes, while just 10 per cent of kids are playing in wild places.

Mr Moss explained: “We all know the benefits being outdoors can bring, and as parents we want our children to spend more time outdoors than they do. But despite this overwhelming evidence and the different initiatives and schemes run by organisations across the UK, our kids are spending less and less time in the outdoors.”

He added: “The time to act is now, whilst we still have a generation of parents and grandparents who grew up outdoors and can pass on their experience and whilst there remains a determination to do something positive in this area.”

The inquiry will last until May 25, and as well as consulting leading experts, members of the public are urged to take part. A summer summit will then be held to agree on a way forward.

Hilary McGrady, the National Trust’s director for Sussex and South East, said: “Research clearly shows that twelve is the magic number. Get kids hooked on the outdoors and you’ve got them interested in the environment for life. If you don’t then we’re creating a whole generation ill at ease with the natural world around them.

“But it’s not all doom and gloom. Parents, grandparents, teachers, health professionals, conservationists, social commentators and politicians from all across the political spectrum agree that something needs to be done.

“The National Trust wants to harness this agreement and help find practical steps to reconnect children with the natural world.”

To get involved, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/naturalchildhood, or Twitter using the hashtag #naturalchildhood, or visit @outdoor_nation or email outdoor.nation@nationaltrust.org.uk