£10k boost as Lancaster adventure company aims to hike up school attendance

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A Halton-based outdoor activity company is “over the moon” after it was awarded a £10,000 grant towards an innovative programme to improve the attendance, mental health and well-being of primary school children across Morecambe and Lancaster.

BEE Adventures, a not-for-profit company run by mountain leaders James Melia and Ryan Bond, has been funded by Westminster Grant Foundation to help children - some of whom may be at risk of exclusion - to develop their confidence and learn new skills in the great outdoors.

The programme will cover four schools and run for the next school year.

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“We are over the moon,” said Ryan. “We want to focus on poor behaviour and attendance, particularly because the amount of kids being excluded across Lancaster is increasing.

James Melia and Ryan Bond of BEE Adventures.James Melia and Ryan Bond of BEE Adventures.
James Melia and Ryan Bond of BEE Adventures.

“We will work particularly with the children who have poor attendance and behaviour and we are hoping by the end we can evidence that we have made some improvements.

“They'll be going out with us, learning how to map read, build fires and use tools. It is building their confidence in the outdoors and also about learning respect. I'm hoping that will transition into school when they get back.

“Having a different way to show your skills and express yourself can be really important.”

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It’s something that Ryan relates strongly with, as he explained: “I wasn’t too great at school. I was sponsored by a charity when I was younger as I was classed as an at-risk teen. The charity took me out on an expedition in Scotland and I'd never done anything like that before. Thank God that I did because it completely took my life in a different direction.”.

James and Ryan, who are originally from Manchester, set up BEE Adventures in 2019 after working for other companies as mountain leaders.

Both are passionate about the great outdoors and how it can improve people’s mental health and social skills, so they came up with the idea of providing a range of outdoor adventures for adults and outdoor activities for children. Bee Adventures also helps people from rehabilitation centres and across the local community to enjoy the great outdoors.

For more information about BEE Adventures, visit bee-adventures.co.uk or email [email protected]

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