Ty-Enfys Eco-retreat

Swansea foster family gets kids back to nature Federico and Darren have been fostering for 3 and a half years and they have been foster carers to two siblings for the last 2 and half years. They all love the outdoors and they have seen what a difference spending time with nature and eating naturally has made to their health, so they’re on a mission to get other kids to go back to nature too. Health, wellbeing, and healthy eating has been the focus of many campaigns for years, but yet in Wales health reports show that the rates of obesity in children are rocketing as well as the rates of adult obesity. Those children that had a harder start in life often present ill health and other conditions that often can be traced back to poor nutrition, neglect and poor education around healthy habits. For some children in foster care, these issues combined with the emotional rollercoaster of being in the care system can really have a long-lasting and detrimental impact on their lives. To alleviate this situation, Federico and Darren created “NaturAlly KIDS” a project on their Ty Enfys Eco-Retreat in Pitton, on the Gower Peninsula. The project aims at educating foster children and families about the environment, permaculture, trees and plants, foraging, healthy eating and cooking. NaturAlly KIDS is supported by foster children support charity The Roots Foundation Wales, community supported agriculture organisation Cae Tan, and Permaculture in Wales.

Federico said: “Making children aware of the ecological benefits of planting trees, fruit, vegetables, and flowers will give them extra pride in their own planting and a good grounding on how they can protect and preserve the environment through caring for existing plants and planting new ones. In particular, we will be aiming to plant a tree for every visiting child, so that they will have a direct link to nature and a point of reference on our site – the tree could also be their friend and confidant”. NaturAlly KIDS is one of the projects seeking funding from the Aviva Community Fund and is inviting the community at large to register on the Aviva website and cast their 10 votes per person to support this Welsh project starting today (24th October) until 21st November. Darren added: “Only the top-voted projects in each category will make it through to the finals, so make sure you tell everyone about this project and its importance to the community. For foster children, a simple project like this can mean everything, but funding can be a problem. The Aviva Community Fund is offering support and funding to causes that make a real difference in the area we live in, so please vote for us!” The foster carers will also be running a Crowd Funder campaign simultaneously to the Aviva voting to support NaturAlly KIDS and the many activities for this development. The Roots Foundation Wales’ Chairperson, Emma Lewis said: “We are excited to be able to offer support for this much-needed project for foster children. Many children in care do not have many opportunities to have a safe space where to get in touch with nature and learn the many benefits that it can bring to us. Permaculture is a great way to create a permanent culture that will skill and equip foster children to turn their health and lives around as well as those of many other generations to come”. For more information about NaturAlly KIDS and to vote to support their project, please visit www.tyenfys.com/support-us