Inclusive outdoor experiences for children
Who are we?
Cut The Mustard Club is a not-for-profit community interest company, serving young people in the UK. It was set up in 2021 by CEO Hana Brierley, with the vision to help all young people find out what they can ‘cut the mustard’ at. We want to break down any barriers which stop young people from accessing extra-curricular activities outdoors. Our goal is to encourage young people to spend more time in green spaces and try a range of activities.
What do we do?
We inspire young people to find their spark by inviting young people to take part in outdoor extra-curricular activities. ‘Cut the mustard club’ has a vision to develop the whole child, focusing on their wellbeing, skills and attainment by participating in healthy recreational activities that they could not otherwise afford. Our bespoke workshops inspire, educate and nurture through gardening and nature sessions at a beautiful, organic nursery in the Cotswolds.
Cut The Mustard Club partners with schools and councils in the South-West to bring groups of children and teenagers to our idyllic setting on a monthly basis. We focus on exposing young people to, and educating them about, nature through planting trees, sowing seeds, weeding, hoeing and pruning. Our workshops give children access to plants, organic soil and fresh air, and allow them the freedom to play and explore in the peaceful English countryside. In addition they develop practical skills such as: gardening, growing food, protecting nature, learning how to re-use and recycle.
‘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 (study by Faber Taylor in 2006). A study by Exeter University also found that ‘gardening is as good for our wellbeing as living in a wealthy neighbourhood’ and England’s largest outdoor learning project revealed: ’Children are more motivated to learn when outside’ (Alan Williams, Department for the Environment).
We want to ensure there are no barriers so everybody is allowed the chance to have fun, develop new skills, grow in confidence and discover a passion.
We are inclusive to all and don’t let financial circumstances stand in the way of discovery, growth and achievement. Cut The Mustard Club addresses and exploits the mental and physical benefits of the outdoors, with hands on experiences which grow children’s confidence and aspiration to learn.
A study by the National Trust on tackling ‘Natural Deficit Disorder’ concluded: ‘Children who learn outdoors know more, understand more, feel better, behave better, work more cooperatively and are physically healthier’.
CTMC works closely with school groups and councils to develop a ‘journey’ for each young person we interact with. Collaboratively we decide on a number of skills for the individual to achieve and determine the award they are going to work towards. By encouraging visits on a regular basis, we build relationships with teachers and their students to measure the impact of our interventions over the course of an academic year. This opportunity is vital for disadvantaged young people as we give them access to nature, which holds infinite possibilities, as well as up-skilling them.
It isn’t just young people who benefit; their increased knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviour influences families, schools, communities and the next generation. If more people are able to enjoy recreational activities outdoors, they are 24% more likely to be physically active, saving the NHS £2.1 billion per year.
We need to work collectively to ensure ALL our young people are given the same opportunities. That is what will enable a fairer society.