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Freedom Club

Gentle mentoring and a neuro-affirmative space in the woods for neurodivergent girls and young people who are gender non-conforming. It's for young people living in Bristol and aged between 10-14.

Our next group will begin in March 2024. Please complete the referral form below by Monday 26th February.  

Our Freedom Club is for neurodivergent girls and young people who are gender non-conforming (includes those who identify as non-binary / trans / genderqueer etc). It's for young people living in Bristol.

 

It’s a combination of light-touch mentoring from an autistic adult plus time hanging out in the woods with other young people, mentors and forest workers to just 'be'. We're running it in partnership with our wonderful forest friends at Mud Pie Explorers.

Through the club, we're aiming to re-build the wellbeing of neurodivergent young people who want to spend more time outside their home but find it difficult because of anxiety.

About the Freedom Club

It will start with some gentle, low-pressure relationship and trust building between mentors and young people on a remote basis (eg online messaging, letters and craft packs). This will happen throughout March.

That's followed by 12 weekly woodland sessions with their mentor and other young people, including:

  • Familiarisation session in the woods with parents

  • 12 x two-hour woodland sessions in Lincombe Barn Wood on Saturdays in term-time (April-July 2024).

  • Total group size: up to 8 young people plus 2 specialist forest leaders + 2 autistic mentors

  • Young person-led, sensory-first nature activities, eg sensory and craft activities with mud and natural materials, whittling, making fires, swings, hammocks, climbing trees, and more.

Who is the Freedom Club for?

Girls and young people who are gender non-conforming (includes those who identify as non-binary / trans / genderqueer etc) who:

  • Are aged 10 to 14  on 1 March 2024.

  • Live in the City of Bristol (the area covered by Bristol City Council)

  • Are very likely to be autistic although may not necessarily have a diagnosis.

  • Feel socially isolated and find it hard to get out and about - but would really like this to change.

  • Are unable to attend school full time because of their anxiety (ie attendance is lower than 95%).

  • Know they are/may be autistic so everyone in the group is comfortable discussing it, if they want to.

  • Enjoy being out in nature, even when it's chilly and damp! Sessions run in most weather.

The Club is free of charge. It's funded by the Department for Education with Bristol City Council, so it's for young people who do not attend school full time due to anxiety – their attendance will be lower than 95%.

Who isn't it for?

  • People with complex mental health needs

  • People requiring one to one care and/or personal care

  • Families who already access any support provided by Bristol City Council Short Breaks team

When is it running?

The group will include up to 8 young people. The mentoring element will run for six weeks before and six weeks after the 12 week forest sessions.

Who can refer?

  • Parent/carers and the young person

  • Parent/carer advocates

  • Education professionals

  • Community groups

  • Health and social care professionals

Who's running the Freedom Club?

NeonDaisy is running the club in partnership with Mud Pie Explorers. Mud Pies has ten years’ experience of running forest sessions for children with additional needs.

The club is funded by the Department for Education through Bristol City Council. It's part of a wider project called 'Pathways to Short Breaks', which offers a range of support to children and young people, including other new community groups along with the Freedom Club.  

How to refer

Please note that this programme is only for young people who are unable to attend school full time due to anxiety, ie their attendance will be lower than 95%. Please keep this in mind when completing the school attendance section of the referral form.

Please fill out the Pathways to Short Breaks form here. All referrals will be reviewed by the Pathways  project team to ensure fair access. We do have very limited spaces but will allocate support fairly based on the criteria outline above. We'll get back to you with an update on your referral as soon as we can.

 

If you are interested please complete the referral form here and we'll get back to you with more information about next steps soon. 

 

For more information please contact amber@neondaisy.org.uk. There will be more groups running later in the year - we'll update this page with more information. 

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