Beach School Will Be Back in 2021

Just a quick update to say we are delighted to have had funding support from Teignmouth Town Council, The FourTeign Fund and Alpkit to get us started on our way to running The Ness Beach School this year.

This funding is specifically for Year 6 children who will be moving on to secondary school this year. We wanted to created a dedicated space for them to mark the transition and to meet other young people from local schools.

We are still sorting out the details, but hope to run four sessions over the Summer Break on a Tuesday evening.

The sessions will be bookable on Eventrbite. We’ll post on our facebook page and in our groups when we have more details. We will ask for a contribution or a donation for the session to make sure they are accessible to all who want to attend.

In the meantime, we will be seeking some additional funding to offer more sessions.

Can you help?

We are also looking for some extra support to run these sessions – if you can help please get in touch:

  • Beach and Forest School Leaders
  • Year 6 Parents who are willing to volunteer to help out at sessions
  • Sponsors

Please email me, at traceyatlighthouse@gmail.com

Thank you.


Ways to Wellbeing

COVID-19 Funding from the Community Fund Feb-April 2021

When we set out to form our Ways to Wellbeing – Self Care for Parents in Teignmouth and Surrounds Facebook group – we knew we needed to enlist some local experts to fill in some gaps in our knowledge.

We enlisted Esther O’Brien who is well versed on running online communities and a skilled public speaker along with Nina Jeffries who owns the local gym, the PB Suite and is a Personal Trainer – our expert in movement & nutrition.

We figured we could develop the content together and Esther pushed us to do Facebook Lives as an alternative to static posts.  I must say, without Esther’s support, I would not have been bold enough to do these!

As it happens they have been hugely gratifying to do and have provided a way of engaging with our wellbeing message that is easy to access, is there to listen to as an when and made real as we talk about the science of wellbeing, the practice, the art and the tools that can be used – all of which we put into the context of our own lives as working parents – warts and all.

We drew upon the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ developed by the New Economics Foundation, and now widely used in the NHS and other services like MIND. These are the themes we have followed, although we have also included ‘Blue Zones’ as there is local interest and a GP led health initiative to support plant based and whole food eating. 

Here are a couple of our posts:

Practising & Cultivating Gratitude for Self Care & Happiness

Yesterday we talked about cultivating the practice of gratitude as a simple yet highly effective way to boost mental and physical wellbeing.  It’s a great antidote to anxiety and stress and doesn’t take a lot to build a daily habit.~ notice what feels good and appreciate it – naming it helps~ talk about 3 things you are grateful for at the dinner table~ write 3 things you are grateful for before sleep~ text a friend or family member a thank you, telling them you are grateful for them~ bring gratitude into your day. And of course, thank you for reading this.

Take Notice:

Be curious~ Catch sight of the beautiful~ Remark on the unusual~ Notice the changing seasons~ Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends~ Marvel at how much fun children have with the simplest of things~ Be aware of the world around you and what you are feelingTip:Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you

World Ocean Day


As we all cope with the current crisis, many leaders here in the UK and around the world are seriously considering a proposal to protect 30% of our land and ocean by 2030. @Lighthouse South Devon CIC is proud to add our support to this #30×30 proposal, and encourage others to do so at http://bit.ly/30x30WOD #WorldOceanDay #Protect30x30

Now is the time for big change. Join @Lighthouse South Devon CIC and people around the world by signing in support of the global movement to protect 30% of  the planet’s lands, waters,  and ocean by 2030. Together we can #Protect30x30: http://bit.ly/30x30WOD

Just like national parks help protect animals and habitats on land, marine protected areas help safeguard areas of the ocean and marine animals.

#DYK only 7% of our ocean is currently protected, yet scientists say we need to safeguard at least 30%?

Into the Forest I go to Lose My Mind and Find my Soul ~ John Muir

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, the Mental Health Foundation are focussing on nature and its beneficial impact on our wellbeing, physical and emotional.  

The Mental Health Foundation provides various resources on their webpage, including a nature journal, which may be of personal interest, or of use to your colleagues / clients. 

The Foundation are pulling together evidence:

  • About nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder
  • It turns out that it is not just about being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts.
  • Even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health and preventing distress

It can often feel like information overwhelm, so please only take what you need from this email.  An invitation to take a brief moment out – through the window, on a walk – to open up, apparently, it’s quality not quantity!

Below we’ve included a few resources for reference:

First up – an example of the ever-growing nature-based interventions (often in the form of social prescribing) that are getting the green light / funding:

  1. Mental Health Through Blue Prescriptions – connecting to ‘watery’ nature @ London Wetlands Centre
  2. Short BBC film on the benefits of forest bathing (and how to) – Shinrin Yoku
  3. A short article about being a counselling client outdoors by the sea
  4. A great article written by a coach, about nature-based work

It seems that the consensus is to get fully immersed – open up to nature’s invitations.

And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul - John Muir
John Muir was a naturalist, a Scottish-American who is known as the father of the National Parks, like Yosemite, in the US

The Ness Beach School 2020

‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!’

Alfie is loving Beach School, he looks forward to every week. This is the first time Alfie has ever wanted to participate in an out of school activity. He loves all the play leaders, and having a chance to meet up with his old friends and make some new. Hopefully this new found confidence will stay with him when he returns to school. Thank you for giving him the opportunity to take part. 

“Jacob has loved it over the last couple of weeks, come out brimming and smiling, it’s really boosted his confidence.” 

“Beach School is very good and all the children like it a lot and they let the children give opinions of all of the activities which is good. It is very fun. The best bit about it is that we get hot chocolate.”

Nicole aged 8 

‘I think Beach School is a positive way to burn off steam and to get in touch with your wild side. In my group. At the end of the session we are always really happy.’  In my school, we have Forest School and ever since lockdown I’ve missed it, I think Beach School is an improvement because you get to be beside the Ocean and you get the sea breeze which can refresh your mind.  Beach School Rules! xx’

Joe, aged 11 

My Jacob is absolutely loving it too, I’ve just asked him and he says “I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I love the activities and seeing my friends again after so long away from them”

Jacob aged 10 

“Thank you, the girls loved it! They so needed this.”

It got my girls out of the house and mixing with others again after lockdown and allowed me to spend time with my younger son one to one which is a rare opportunity. It was good for all of us.

Beach school enabled my ASD son to participate in outdoor learning, which is his happy place. He was lucky enough to spend time with the wonderful Tracie Carpenter who is an amazing forest school teacher. While my son was at beach school it gave me and my daughter some special time together too thank you to all the volunteers for educating and caring for my boy and all the other children who were lucky enough to go. 

Jacob loved the whole experience and couldn’t wait to get there each week , it was lovely for him to see some of his friends again and spend time with his best pal Jake M learning new skills and building in confidence as he went ….. thank you for your time guys x 

My son loved Beach School it gave him a chance to spend time with his peers away from the family whilst enjoying the beautiful beach and learning new skills. He loved the leaders, and it helped to build his confidence in returning to school. 

“Oscar has always found school difficult and not attended many after school clubs. Lockdown was in many ways a relief for him as he was away from the crowds and pressure of school – particularly due to being in year six. Oscar was very close to his Grandma, who died at the beginning of July, just before his 11th Birthday. Beach School has really helped him to integrate back into being in a group environment again, with other children and following instructions. He loves being outside in nature as has looked forward to attending each week. I am confident this will make his transition to secondary school next month much easier. I hope that the Beach School will be able to continue into the future. It would be a huge support to us to have an extra bit of childcare in school holidays now that we are a grandparent down too!” 

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!”

Oscar, age 11 

The Ness Beach School

We are really pleased to have received funding from Devon County Council and the Tesco Bags of Help fund so that we can run a beach school programme this August.

We wanted to offer children aged 9-12 the chance to get out into nature, connect with the wonder of nature on our beaches and immerse themselves in some outdoors learning, especially after a long spring and summer of school closure.

Luckily for us there are some very talented teachers and Forest / Beach School Leaders in Teignmouth who have taken up the challenge to set up evening sessions every Wednesday at pretty short notice.

As of time of writing we ran our first session yesterday which was attended by 21 children. We knew it was fun – from our perspective – but have been blown away by the messages and feedback we have received from families whose children came along.

Sadly we are oversubscribed this time, but we are working on plans to continue and expand what we can offer in the months ahead.

We’d be very happy to hear from anyone who is interested in helping in any way and will shortly be setting up a CrowdFunder page to help us keep the sessions free.