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Forest school set to bring ‘green therapy’ to stressed out Ipswich families

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 January 2020

Digby Chacksfield, director of Rural Enterprise East, Elsa Bertram, Gill Chapman, Forest School leader, Lucy Elkin, Oscar Bertram and Jo Ling, manager of Time to Play Forest School  Picture; JOHN NICE

Digby Chacksfield, director of Rural Enterprise East, Elsa Bertram, Gill Chapman, Forest School leader, Lucy Elkin, Oscar Bertram and Jo Ling, manager of Time to Play Forest School Picture; JOHN NICE

John Nice

Play-starved adults and children are set to enjoy ‘green therapy’ as a new forest-based venture is launched.

Carl Ansell, senior lecturer in arboriculture, Jo Ling, manager of Time to Play Forest School, and Digby Chacksfield, director of Rural Enterprise East  Picture; JOHN NICECarl Ansell, senior lecturer in arboriculture, Jo Ling, manager of Time to Play Forest School, and Digby Chacksfield, director of Rural Enterprise East Picture; JOHN NICE

A college-based collaboration near Ipswich is set to bring a forest school and nature-based green therapies to the region.

Rural Enterprise East (REE) - an initiative encouraging new entrepreneurs and based at Suffolk Rural, which was formerly known as Otley College - has joined forced with local business Time to Play.

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The REE had been searching for a partner organisation to make use of a beautiful wooded area surrounding the campus.

At the same time, Time to Play, which already runs forest school sessions for children and families in other areas of Suffolk and Essex, was looking for a suitable site near Ipswich.

Time to Play founder and manager Jo Ling said the concept had really taken off over the last five years.

"Many people now enjoy the mental and physical benefits of being outside in a natural place. Participants slow down and take a break from their everyday lives.

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"Adults can relax whilst the children play in a free and natural way, making friends and informally learning about nature," she said.

"This is an ideal spot to hold forest school sessions for children, parents and carers, families who home educate their children and adults looking for activities that connect them to the natural world."

Director of Rural Enterprise East Digby Chacksfield welcome the new venture.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership and excited about the amazing opportunities that will be created via the forest school," he said.

Most people the Time to Play team work with say regular sessions outside have benefits for them and for their children, said Jo.

"Typically, people feel less stressed and happier after a forest school session," she said. "Children experience all the seasons and the changes this brings."

Forest school sessions, which will be led by Jo Ling, begin in February with an open day planned for Saturday 1 February 2020 for people to come along, meet Jo and explore and play in the woods.

If you would like to know more or attend the open day, Jo can be contacted on 07906928103 or email jo@timetoplayearlyyears.com


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