One of the projects that The Areti Trust funded last year (and which had to be adapted to comply with Covid regulations) was a project combining the natural world and dance. A team from Ludus Dance worked with children from Ryelands Primary School to create an activity about autumn and the changing colours of the trees and landscape. The children took part in a walk around the local park, where they were shown how to identify different types of trees and explored their qualities and potential.
The project also highlighted the importance of preserving and looking after our local wildlife, and the topics of plastic pollution, pollinator decline and local walks for the children came up in all sessions.
For the Areti trustees it was a pleasure to watch a video clip of the children dancing as trees or as butterflies and to sense their delight in the project. The project resumes with Ryelands next month; Ludus will also be working with North Road Community Primary School in Carnforth this spring.
It has not been possible for most of the activities planned for 2020 to take place, but the Lancashire Association of Boys and Girls Clubs have managed one. During October half-term 6 young people from Lancaster went on a residential course at Ormside Mill outdoor centre in Cumbria.
Sadly – but not surprisingly – most of the activities funded by The Areti Trust at the beginning of the year have had to be postponed. The trustees were therefore very pleased to learn that Lancashire Youth Challenge managed to complete a modified version of their Coniston Challenge over the summer. This enabled 2 separate groups of young people to spend 3 days (non-residential) caving, hiking and ghyll-scrambling – a character-forming experience that enabled them to put lockdown out of their minds for a short time. (And also – a common theme it seems with such mini-adventures – involved them getting very wet!)
During the February half-term, Lancaster Boys & Girls Club went to the Anderton Centre, Chorley, for a one-night team-building residential. They got wet and blown about – and learned more about working together.
In August a team of 16 young people, 2 staff and 4 volunteers hiked across 50 miles in 4 days, beginning at Hedden-on-the Wall and concluding in Carlisle.
The young people on the walk had been referred to Lancashire Youth Challenge by Lancaster Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Barnardo’s, Lancashire Constabulary, local pupil referral units and schools due to their personal needs and vulnerabilities. They had worked hard in preparation for the walk, building up their fitness, resilience and team-building, and they completed this amazing challenge successfully.
One of the projects which Areti helped to fund this year was “Close to the Wind” – a piece of work made by year 3 children from four local schools working with the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Cumbria-based sound artist, Dan Fox.
Children from Archbishop Hutton’s School, Arnside National School, Morecambe Bay Primary School and Ryelands School climbed Warton Crag in September to listen to the sounds of nature and to learn more about the natural world.
The children’s words and experiences were stitched together to produce this work for Light Up Lancaster; the screen is made from hundreds of strips of elastic, and as the wind blows across them it creates acoustic sounds and visual patterns, while the children’s recorded voices complete the work.
In July and August groups from Lancaster Boys and Girls Club made trips, funded by Areti, to Lakeside YMCA at Newby Bridge to try out the high ropes, climbing tower, obstacle courses and ghyll scrambling. Getting wet was definitely all part of the fun.
One of the grants made earlier this year was to Morecambe Bay Partnership for a project teaching local primary school children about the fishing history and ecology of the bay. Visits to Sunderland Point have already taken place, with further visits planned in September. Schools involved are West End Primary Morecambe, Ridge Primary Lancaster, Ryelands Lancaster and St Mary’s Catholic Primary Morecambe.
After the visit to Sunderland Bay, the pupils work with About Time Dance Company to create a dance based on what they have learned about fish and the sea.