Circle of Life Rediscovery

Circle of Life Rediscovery (COLR) runs Woodland Family Days where children and young people who need intensive support (level four on the CAF continuum of need) and their families, including siblings, can spend time in woodland. The children and young people are able to talk part in activities they wouldn’t usually be able to, like fire making, sawing and woodland crafts.


Funded by a Transforming Care grant from NHS England, the Sussex-based project targets those who have the least opportunity to attend events and experience normal life.

H, who is 15 years old, got smoke in his eyes for the first time and was able to keep calm. He helped to find firewood, cooked sausages on an open fire and was supported to make an aeroplane out of wood. He stayed for the whole session which was felt to be a real achievement.

18 year old T loved to cook on the open fire for his mum and sister. His mum said: “T has loved it and been beaming. He was excited before coming. No-one else is providing [this kind of service], there are no negatives at all… All the problems are at home and you haven’t brought them here so you can enjoy for however long you are here. I was worried about the fire but it is very safe. Everyone is looking out for each other and we are all in the same boat.”

By taking part as a whole family, they can all improve their confidence in spending family time outdoors, go beyond their daily routine and go beyond the expectations of themselves and their children.

Circle of Life Rediscovery are looking at potential future work to:

  • Support the young people to write journals to help them track the progress they are making with each visit
  • Give each family a collection of family photos – as families have said they often have few, if any, photos as they rarely get out as a whole family or have a calm moment to be together for one.
  • A certification scheme linked to woodland access, to enable families to access the woods on their own.
  • Raising awareness in local communities to help prevent abuse.
  • Watch a film about the project
  • Watch Zeb, Jenny and Alain’s story


Marina Robb,