The National Trust has announced that, following a recruitment drive over the summer holidays, a group of ten youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from across the country, have been recruited by the charity for its Kid’s Council. The children will help the charity to evolve its ’50 Things To Do Before You‘re 11¾’ campaign and provide advice on how National Trust places can spark more children’s interest in nature and the outdoors.
The new Kids’ Council held its inaugural meeting at Dyrham Park near Bath and jumped into their roles with gusto. Having all tackled the ’50 Things’ list, the children are passionate about wildlife and outside activities and brimming with ideas to make the National Trust more engaging for youngsters.
Their first proposal to create a mud slide was put into practise with the help of a large hillside and Rob Holden, Head Ranger at Dyrham Park. Installing rope swings at National Trust places and creating a country-wide nature trail were other ideas discussed by the young councillors
The nationwide search for the youngsters opened in August and attracted hundreds of applications from across the UK. The National Trust judges were looking for imaginative and enthusiastic candidates who showed a real passion for the outdoors. The response from the nation’s children both inspired and delighted the judging panel with the applicants sending in photos, drawing pictures and even creating treasure maps.
Some of the more weird and wonderful suggestions that came up in some of the applications included meerkats at National Trust properties, barefoot nature walks and going inside a large rabbit hole to “see what it’s like being a rabbit”.
The successful applicants forming the new Kids’ Council are:
– Jessica Swales, aged 8 from North Yorkshire
– Max Hodgson, aged 8 from West Midlands
– Francesca Carrannante, aged 8 from London
– Kai Bickley, aged 7 from West Midlands
– Kit Le Froy, aged 8 from Cornwall
– Leif Wilson-Palmer, aged 8 from Gloucestershire
– Harry Wilson, aged 10 from Bristol
– Mia McDade, aged 8 from Stockport
– Sophia Tarling, aged 8 from Norwich
– Iona Howells, aged 11 from Kent
The members of the Kids’ Council and their families will be able to visit all National Trust places throughout the year to gain a true and deep understanding of what the National Trust has to offer. The children will report to the Getting Outdoors and Closer to Nature Programme board at the National Trust, and will share their recommendations at four meetings across the year.
Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, commented: “The applicants were imaginative, adventurous and exciting and we cannot wait to hear their views and start bringing their recommendations to life. The sheer number of applications shows that the children of Britain do want to get outdoors, have fun and connect with nature and our mission is to make this as accessible to all children as possible.”
Iona Howells, aged 11 from the Kids’ Council, said: “I am really proud to be part of the Kids’ Council. I want to make other children see that being outdoors can be fun and the National Trust has some great places where you can have heaps of fun – I hate sitting still inside so it is great to be part of getting other kids to play outside.”