Autism and Nature expand services to the New Forest thanks to local donation

Autism and Nature , a non-profit organisation with a charitable purpose aiming to enrich the lives of individuals with autism through nature, has received a £1,000 donation from Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF) to support the organisation’s local New Forest based project.

As part of their work the organisation produces local guide books for a range of areas across the country to assist carers in engaging autistic children with the countryside. The donation from BMF enables Autism and Nature to expand their work and produce a guide book for the New Forest – providing an opportunity for local families and schools caring for autistic children to involve them with nature in the New Forest National Park. The guide was co-sponsored by the New Forest National Park Authority and It is being distributed by Autism Hampshire.

The guide provides information on the benefits of visiting the countryside for those with autism, a series of natural places to visit in the New Forest National Park and how to reach them via public transport.

Tim Jobling, Trustee at the Barker-Mill Foundation said:  “We are very pleased to be able to contribute to Autism and Nature’s production of the New Forest local guide book so autistic individuals across Hampshire can benefit from the opportunities available to them.

“The organisation’s simple yet effective approach to enriching the lives of children with autism is something we are proud to support and hope they continue the expansion of their local guide book range in the coming years.”

Autism and Nature were concerned about the disconnection between children with autism and related disabilities with the natural world. So they produced local guide books for parents, carers and teachers of autistic children in Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex, Suffolk and Surrey that were hugely successful.  Following this success they chose to expand their range to the New Forest due to its rich wildlife and natural habitats that autistic children would enjoy.

Dr David Blakesley, Co-Founder and Director of Autism and Nature said “we believe that nature can provide a number of learning, health and wellbeing benefits for children, particularly to those of Special Education Needs. Our guides are designed to assist carers in connecting individuals with autism and related disabilities to the natural world. The countryside provides autistic children with sensory experiences of nature and an opportunity to develop new interests”

“Because of the extensive benefits, we want to be able to provide resources for as many autistic children across the country as possible to engage with the countryside. We’ve already reached many counties and with the help of BMF we’re now also able to help autistic children in and around the New Forest”

Visiting the natural places of the New Forest, as highlighted by the guide, provides many benefits for to autistic individuals aside from spending time in the countryside, including: a calming environment to reduce stress and a sense of independence and opportunities to develop skills.  Autism and Nature relies on support such as that from BMF, and their contribution has helped them bring the benefits of nature to autistic children in Hampshire.

For more information about Autism and Nature please contact