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Vulnerable children who've struggled with lockdown to benefit from nature holiday club at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

A retired headteacher passionate about nature has teamed up with Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory to run a holiday club for vulnerable children.

The project which will run three days a week throughout August is aimed at helping those who've struggled with lockdown to catch up on the national curriculum - but without knowing it.

Sharon Irvine is helping to run nature holiday club for schoolchildren
Sharon Irvine is helping to run nature holiday club for schoolchildren

Sharon Irvine, a former head teacher at St Peter's Junior school in Broadstairs and Charlton Primary in Dover, is working with the observatory's assistant warden Becky Downey to run the morning sessions for children aged seven to 11.

The 24 spaces have been filled by children from primary schools in Deal, Sandwich and Worth, who will attend eight at a time.

They will take part in outdoor activities and arts and crafts to show the importance of building a sustainable future, protecting the countryside and wildlife around us.

Mrs Irvine said: "We contacted the schools and asked them to identify children who have had a tough time during lockdown who would benefit from extra earning activities in a fun and creative way.

"We've built into it some catch up activities linked to science, maths and literacy but in a way the children won't realise. There will be lots of games and creativity. You learn a lot through play."

Ian Hodgson captured this image of a spotted flycatcher at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory
Ian Hodgson captured this image of a spotted flycatcher at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

Activities include pond dipping, bird ringing, beach scavenging and bee and bug hunting.

She added: "Every week we'll be making something for the children to take home and put into their garden; a bird box, a bug house.

"Our aim is to really capture their minds, and get them so engaged in nature that it will become part of their everyday life.

"I think with lockdown so many more people have become aware of the importance of looking outside and being are of the world around them."

The project comes off the back of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund intended to help the bird observatory engage with local schools and young people.

The observatory's assistant warden Becky Downey is also leading the sessions
The observatory's assistant warden Becky Downey is also leading the sessions

It has also been sponsored by Discovery Park, Archer's Low Nursery who have provided resources and Shade or Shelter who have loaned a marquee for the entire month, in the event of rain.

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