Natural Connections is a project aimed at hard-to-reach teenagers to get them out and experience something other than just academia. We have had workshops such as woodcarving, cooking outdoors, they do a practical conservation task where they remove invasive non-native species or they plant wildflowers. The last group we’ve just handed them a whole load of wildflower seeds so hopefully they will grow them on the site that we are on just now. It’s had a very positive impact on their lives. They’ve gotten a better appreciation of the environment that they live in, a better appreciation of Cumbernauld, we’ve had lots of good reports from the community saying they were impressed with what the children had been doing, clearing the area, less litter, et cetera, and it also gave the children a purpose being out the classroom, getting fresh air has just benefitted them in so many ways both in their positive mental health and their physical health as well. It helped me get a better understanding of nature, and how much I can do for the environment without actually doing that much. It’s been good learning all about the outdoors and all that and cleaning up the environment so it’s been fun. It’s helped me get closer to nature and the areas around me. Rather than not knowing very much about them because before I started this project I didn’t know anything about this pond. Being outdoors, getting fresh air for a long time. and taking the experience to do more time outdoors rather than inside. It’s taken me to a good place. Getting the grant from Sanctuary really has helped now because the benefits that those children have had, the school can now pass that on to other kids. We can get them all outside and the whole idea is that the school is going to use all of the equipment to encourage other departments, whole school events, to take the kids outside to this wonderful area. As we’ve went on we’ve seen a massive change in their maturity, their confidence levels have increased, their ability for team working and independent working has been incredible and it’s just been really good to hear that we’ve had some really successful students go on into positive destinations and for us that’s just a win, that’s absolutely brilliant.