Hana Brierley taught English in a secondary-school in Bristol for five years. The school served students in a disadvantaged part of the city and Hana noticed that children there weren’t given the same access to extra-curricular activities as their wealthier peers. Hana formed a cycling club, a debating team, an international-exchange and fundraising activities for students. The results were profound and it was often the students who were least engaged in the classroom who really shone. Hana is keen for ALL young people to be allowed the chance to ‘cut the mustard’ at something they are passionate about.
Hana holds a PGCE (distinction) from the University of Bristol and an MSc in English Literature from Edinburgh University. She is also a qualified TEFL teacher, a keen runner, a qualified skydiver, a passionate vegetarian and a campaigner for opportunities for children. In 2021 Hana founded Cut the Mustard Club to start igniting sparks outdoors! She lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, their three young children and an energetic cocker spaniel!
Claire has a wealth of expertise in fundraising, strategic planning and business development. She is passionate about environmental health issues and encouraging children to learn about the natural world. She has two young children who love being outdoors – and if that involves water play then all the better!
Claire enjoys being engaged in the local community and is currently on the fundraising committee for a local charity playgroup. She says…”Being a director of Cut The Mustard Club is a real honour, not only because I can contribute to this amazing cause but also to be part of the daily running of such an incredible organisation. With someone as passionate and patient as Hana at the helm, it will be a huge success. I’m so excited to be involved!”
I have created and nurtured the Red Pepper Project space where children learn; grow; plant; create and play in an organic plant nursery setting. I run workshops for children and adults where they can interact with nature, develop gardening skills and create relationships between themselves, plants and nature. The simple act of planting a seed and helping it grow, can nourish us and in turn, help us to grow and develop in so many different ways.
My aspiration is to provide a wider community nature space for our future generations. I have always had a passion for helping others; not only to learn but find fulfilment. The Red Pepper Project provides a beautiful and peaceful setting that can be used for sustainable growth; education; support groups; therapy and perhaps most importantly….self-nourishment.
I am passionate about working with Cut The Mustard Club to help school children with their discovery and well-being.
For the typical British young person, less than 5% of their time is spent outdoors.
Worryingly, 3/4 children now spend less time outside than prisoners, and children in low-income or ethnic minority communities have particularly limited access to natural spaces.
‘Just 56% of under-16s from BAME households visited the natural environment at least once a week, compared to 74% from white households.’
(A. Leach, ‘Improving children’s access to nature starts with addressing inequality’.)
It’s been proven that green environments reduce levels of depression and anxiety and enhance our quality of life. However, access to green spaces varies depending on socioeconomic background. The most economically deprived families have fewer opportunities to reap the benefits of time spent outdoors and this is contributing to rising levels of mental and physical health problems in young people.
Many disadvantaged children don’t have access to gardens, and outdoor space is often urbanised and polluted. So, instead, they spend an average of 20 hours a week online. This ‘extinction of experience’ is resulting in ‘de-natured’ young people suffering physically and mentally with 3 in 10 children aged 2-15 now overweight. If this continues, half of all adults and a quarter of all children will be obese by 2050.
Lack of time outdoors is leading to an increased vitamin D deficiency, a rise in rickets and asthma as well as increased mental health problems with one in 10 children having a diagnosed mental health disorder and 1 in 12 adolescents self-harming. Having taught in a Teach First School in Bristol, highlighted to Hana how disadvantaged young people aren’t afforded the opportunities that others can afford. In fact, this is true of all extra-curricular activities.
A report published by the Social Mobility Commission found that: ‘Thousands of young people don’t take part in extra-curricular activities because of their socio-economic background. As a result, disadvantaged young people miss out on some of the most valuable experiences in life – increased confidence which helps social interaction, an aspiration to learn more, gaining soft skills vital to employers and, more importantly, a sense of wellbeing and belonging – simply because of their parental income and where they grow up’. A lack of extra-curricular options for disadvantaged young people, coupled with environmental inequality, is causing the educational gap to widen.
Cut The Mustard Club inspires young people to find their spark by inviting ALL young people to take part in outdoor extra-curricular activities. We have a vision to develop the whole child, focusing on their wellbeing, skills and attainment by participating in healthy recreational activities that some could not otherwise afford.
England’s largest outdoor learning project recently revealed children are more motivated to learn when outside.
Every young person should be given the chance to have fun, develop skills, grow in confidence and discover a passion.
Across the south west
We partner with schools and councils in the South West to bring children and teenagers to our idyllic Cotswold settings on a weekly basis.
Access to nature holds infinite possibilities; children gain cognitive, emotional, physical benefits as well as an increased ability to concentrate, improved academic performance, reduced stress and aggression and reduced risk of obesity. Cut The Mustard Club partners with a range of outdoor settings, including equestrian centres and sailing clubs to open doors, outside, for all children. By offering a host of outdoor extra-curricular activities, we want to ensure there are no barriers to opportunity.
One of the best bits about childhood is doing the things you enjoy outside the classroom
(Dame Martina Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission).
Cut The Mustard Club asks:
What can every young person ‘cut the mustard’ at?