Our new Kids' Council

Published : Fri 16th Nov Author : National Trust

Following a recruitment drive over the summer holidays, a group of ten youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from across the country, have been hired for our new Kids' Council.

The children will help the charity to evolve our 50 Things To Do Before You‘re 11¾ campaign and provide advice on how Trust places can spark more children’s interest in nature and the outdoors.

The new Kids’ Council held their inaugural meeting atDyrhamParknearBathlast weekend and jumped into their roles with gusto. Having all tackled the 50 Things list, the children are passionate about wildlife and outside activities and brimming with ideas to make the National Trust more engaging for youngsters.

Their first proposal to create a mud slide was put into practise with the help of a large hillside and Rob Holden, Head Ranger at DyrhamPark. Installing rope swings at our places and creating a country-wide nature trail were other ideas discussed by the young councillors

Appointing the Kids' Council

The nationwide search for the youngsters opened in August and attracted hundreds of applications from across the UK. Our judges were looking for imaginative and enthusiastic candidates who showed a real passion for the outdoors. The response from the nation’s children both inspired and delighted the judging panel with the applicants sending in photos, drawing pictures and even creating treasure maps.

Some of the more weird and wonderful suggestions that came up in some of the applications included meerkats at National Trust properties, barefoot nature walks and going inside a large rabbit hole to 'see whats its like being a rabbit'.

The successful applicants forming the new Kids’ Council are:

Jessica Swales, aged 8 from North Yorkshire

Max Hodgson, aged 8 from West Midlands

Francesca Carrannante, aged 8 fromLondon

Kai Bickley, aged 7 fromWest Midlands

Kit Le Froy, aged 8 from Cornwall

Leif Wilson-Palmer, aged 8 from Gloucestershire

Harry Wilson, aged 10 from Bristol

Mia McDade, aged 8 from Stockport

Sophia Tarling, aged 8 from Norwich

Iona Howells, aged 11 fromKent

The Kids’ Council and their f amilies will be able to visit all our places throughout the year to gain a true and deep understanding of what the Trust has to offer. The children will report into the Getting Outdoors and Closer to Nature Programme board at the National Trust, and will share their recommendations at four meetings across the year.

Tony Berry, our Visitor Experience Director, commented:

'The applicants were imaginative, adventurous and exciting and we cannot wait to hear their views and start bringing their recommendations to life. The sheer number of applications shows that the children of Britain do want to get outdoors, have fun and connect with nature and our mission is to make this as accessible to all children as possible.'

Alex Hunt, Natural Childhood Director, commented:

'We are committed to helping children connect with the outdoors and get closer to nature. Our Natural Childhood Report published earlier this year showed how children have fewer opportunities to play outdoors and we hope that the Kids’ Council will encourage more free-range children.'

Iona Howells, aged 11 from the Kids’ Council, said:

'I am really proud to be part of the Kids’ Council. I  want to make other children see that being outdoors can be fun and the National Trust has some great places where you can have heaps of fun - I hate sitting still inside so it is great to be part of getting other kids to play outside!'