Sure Start with Nature

Children are happier, healthier and more creative when they are connected to nature. We always aim to inspire people about Norfolk’s wildlife, but a new project which started this spring hopes to go a little bit further.

‘A Sure Start with Nature’ introduces children to the natural world at the very start of their lives. In partnership with Sure Start Children’s Centres in Great Yarmouth, Thetford and Corpusty, we will run indoor and outdoor nature-focused activities such as monthly interactive sessions and sensory play.

Senior education officer at NWT, Annabel Hill said: “We took the children on a minibeast hunt around the centre grounds, looking under leaves and in long grass. The children had a fantastic time and were amazed at the creatures we found.

“As part of the project we have provided treasure baskets for our youngest explorers, containing natural objects such as acorns, shells and pine cones for them to see, touch and smell. We will also work with new parents to improve their health and well-being by having contact with nature, such as on wildlife walks and visits to nature reserves.”

The centres will receive a wildlife renovation, with seasonal wildlife sounds such as autumn crunching leaves or spring bird song playing. A sensory tree can be dressed for the season and a natural history table will have items to explore. Outside, the grounds will be improved for wildlife with a bug hotel, bird and bat boxes and new areas for wildlife to live.

This is the first project of NWT’s Children And Nature fund. We also received a grant of £7,770 from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All scheme and further support from the Norwich branch of White Stuff. 

Head of People and Wildlife, David North said: “Research shows that children today have far fewer opportunities than previous generations to explore and discover wildlife and spend much less time outside. We are delighted that it gives us the ability to work with Sure Start Centres which do an excellent job engaging the very young and their families. We hope that nature becomes part of these families’ lives each day, throughout the year.”

Please support our project by making a donation below, or call us on 01603 625540 to donate over the phone.

Join us at your local Sure Start centre

We’ll be improving the Sure Start Centres' grounds as a home for wildlife and for children to explore! Inside the centre we’ll create some sensory fun that will change with the seasons.

In the children's sessions we will explore wildlife. Each month we’ll introduce your child to a new Norfolk species.

For adults, come along for a walk around your local area, starting and ending at the Sure Start Centre. We’ll be looking at nature on your doorstep, naming the trees you pass every day and looking for birds and other wildlife.
Lyra Newby wearing bee goggles at a recent session

Village Green Sure Start Children’s Centre

Moorland Way, Great Yarmouth, NR31 9PA

Monthly nature walks:
1–2pm, every third Thursday of the month
Come along for a walk around your local area, starting and ending at the Sure Start Centre. We’ll be looking at nature on your doorstep, naming the trees you pass every day, looking for birds and other wildlife.

Monthly nature activities:
9.30am -11am, every third Thursday of the month
Join us during the ‘Chatterboxes Group’ session to explore wildlife. Each month we’ll introduce your child to a different theme.

Upcoming session dates:
19 July 2018
9 August 2018 * This date will be a special visit to West Runton. There will be a free bus there and back from the Children’s centre.
20 September 2018
18 October 2018
15 November 2018
13 December 2018
17 January 2019
21 February 2019* This date will be a special visit to the NWT Hickling Broad Nature Reserve. There will be a free bus there and back from the Children’s centre.
21 March 2019
18 April 2019

Canterbury Sure Start Children’s Centre

Canterbury Way, Thetford, IP24 1EB

Monthly nature walks:
11am – 12 noon, every first Thursday of the month
Come along for a walk around your local area, starting and ending at the Sure Start Centre. We’ll be looking at nature on your doorstep, naming the trees you pass every day, looking for birds and other wildlife.

Monthly nature activities:
9.30am – 10.45am, every first Thursday of the month
Join us during the ‘Stay and Play’ to explore wildlife. Each month we’ll introduce your child to a different theme.

Upcoming session dates:
5 July 2018
Aug –TBC
6 September 2018
4 October 2018
1 November 2018
6 December 2018
3 January 2019
7 February 2019
7 March 2019
4 April 2019

Corpusty and Holt Children’s Centre

Charles Road, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6DA

Monthly nature walks:
1.30pm – approx. 2:15pm, every fourth Monday of the month
Come along for a walk around your local area, starting and ending at the Sure Start Centre. We’ll be looking at nature on your doorstep, naming the trees you pass every day, looking for birds and other wildlife.

Upcoming session dates:
25 June 2018
23 July 2018
August – No monthly walk due to Bank Holiday
24 September 2018
22 October 2018
26 November 2018
24 December 2018
28 January 2019
25 February 2019
25 March 2019
April – No monthly walk due to Bank Holiday


Monthly nature activities:
9.30am – 11.30am every third Monday of the month
Each month we’ll introduce your child to a different wildlife theme! These fun sessions will take place at our visitor centre at NWT Cley Marshes. There will be a free bus there and back from the Children’s centre, (limited spaces, to book call 01263 712442).

Upcoming session dates:
16 July 2018
20 August 2018
17 September 2018
15 October 2018
19 November 2018
17 December 2018
21 January 2019
18 February 2019
18 March 2019
15 April 2019

The Children And Nature fund

A Sure Start with Nature is the first project supported by our Children And Nature fund.

It was established by NWT Vice President, John Snape and his family to help children and young people enjoy and value the nature that surrounds them in Norfolk. Any money donated to the fund will be used on projects for children and where possible will be used to match fund grants to attract even more support.  

John said “NWT Children and Nature Fund (CAN) is specifically dedicated to enabling children to learn about and experience the natural world, which is something that has become increasingly alien to them. I would invite you to make a contribution to this fund and help connect future generations with the wildlife that surrounds them.”

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