Ernest Cook grant to help young people connect with nature

Ribble Rivers Trust has benefited from a £15,000 grant from UK educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust, which is aimed at helping get young people outdoors. Spread across three years, the grant is helping to fund the salary of an Outdoor Learning Officer to run the Coastal Explorers Project.

The Ernest Cook Grant will help us to bring school sessions like this to new audiences.

The project will engage with hundreds of primary school pupils each year, reconnecting them to the outdoors. With a focus on the Ribble Estuary, Blackpool, and the Fylde coast, the project engages children in fun, exploratory and inspiring outdoor activities that can reduce isolation, rebuild confidence and self-esteem and connect communities.

Targeting activities at young people from underserved communities, Coastal Explorers seeks to remove barriers to outdoor engagement ensuring every child can enjoy being outdoors and is given a chance to develop a lifelong love for nature.

Ribble Rivers Trust was among ten charities and not-for-profit organisations to receive a grant from The Ernest Cook Trust, which combined totalled almost £150,000. Each organisation has been awarded up to £15,000 per year, for three years. This was the third cohort of Outdoor Learning Officers to be funded by The Ernest Cook Trust, bringing the total based across the UK to 30.

In this funding round, the Trust was looking to support organisations in its Lancashire/Cumbria and Wiltshire/Gloucestershire regional hub areas.

Suzie Paton, The Ernest Cook Trust’s Head of Grants & Partnerships, said each of the organisations receiving the grant had demonstrated their commitment to helping young people get outdoors to become better connected with nature.

“We know that inspirational role models are key to helping young people form lasting connections with the natural environment,” she said. “This is why we prioritise charities and organisations whose approach is to encourage young people to enjoy the outdoors and engage with nature. ”

The ten organisations now able to take on a new Outdoor Learning Officer are:

  1. Eden Rivers Trust – Penrith
  2. Groundwork Greater Manchester
  3. Morecambe Bay Partnership
  4. Ribble Rivers Trust – Clitheroe, Lancashire
  5. Susan’s Farm – Carlisle
  6. The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & N Merseyside
  7. Creative Sustainability – Gloucestershire
  8. The Friendship Café – Gloucestershire
  9. Young Gloucestershire
  10. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (which has deferred its project start date to April 2024)

The Ernest Cook Trust is a UK educational charity committed to helping young people and their communities develop a lifelong journey of learning, appreciation and respect for the countryside through a range of Outdoor Learning experiences.

The Trust delivers programmes on its own estates and with partner estates. Through grant-giving, it supports other organisations in the field of Outdoor Learning, and awards around £2m in grants each year.

For more information about The Ernest Cook Trust, visit

Ernest Cook Grant logo
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