Cornish Acorn

Facilities for Outdoor Learning and Young Women’s Transition Group

The project came about in response to an awareness on the part of its founder, gained during 10 years’ of youth work in Cornwall, that young people, and young women in particular, struggle with this change. 

  • Very often the most difficult time for children is the transition period between ages 10 and 14 ( 
  • 1 in 4 children show some evidence of poor mental health (Young Minds Trust 2017)
  • 50% of those with lifetime mental illness experience symptoms by the age of 14 (Public Health England 2016) 

The young women’s transition group meets regularly, and participants are encouraged to engage with nature and to develop their connection with their local environment through a range of activities in an outdoor setting – including gardening, outdoor cooking, hiking, art, den building and learning about sustainability, plants, animals and trees. While engaging in these activities, the young women build connections and are supported to discuss the emotional and practical challenges they face and to develop strategies and toolkits to deal with them.   

“Thank you. I seem to have a different M home tonight she is so full of life and talkative I can’t remember the last time I saw her like this.” 

From a parent of a young person that attends sessions at Cornish Acorn

In this way, the project aims to build girls’ confidence, self-esteem and resilience and to help them develop the knowledge and emotional and practical skills they will need as they become young women. 

The Eden Geothermal Community Fund is providing a contribution to this great project in the form of a grant to build a compost toilet and a shelter, so that activities can continue to run in bad weather. (And let’s face it, bad weather’s not unusual!) Moving forward, these new, low-impact welfare facilities will support Cornish Acorn to with more groups of young people who are struggling with their mental health and maintaining education. And in particular, it’s hoped the facilities will help to make the site suitable for young people to plan and run community events there, providing a place for them to come together with the wider community in a positive way.  

“The funding from Eden Geothermal will mean we can support other young people to have positive mental health by giving us the ability to work with young people all year around and in all weathers.”

From the project organisers.