Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

About the organisation

Wild things! is an award winning Scottish charity seeking to overcome educational, social or economic disadvantages through contact with the natural world. Wild things! has developed a unique range of environmental education, training and conservation programmes which enable participants to appreciate, care for and understand the natural environment.

As the leading provider of environmental education in the North-East of Scotland, Wild things! has collaborated with schools, local authorities and charities to improve the quality of life for around 1,200 children, disadvantaged young people and adults with mental health challenges each year.

Specialists in providing training for future outdoor activity leaders, their courses have been developed from over 20 years experience of delivering outdoor education. Students on Woodland and Coastal Activity Leader Training courses are provided with the skills required to deliver outdoor learning lessons and be inspiring, knowledgeable and safe outdoor activity leaders

About the award

The development of the Outdoor Education Training Programme. The Robertson Trust award is for Wild things! to build its capacity as a social enterprise. The organisation will seek to expand the success of its accredited leader training courses in the North East of Scotland by delivering them across Scotland and the rest of the  UK. This expansion aims to bring a new and independent income stream to the charity, enabling it to continue to meet and develop its social and environmental objectives whilst reducing grant dependency.  At the same time, it is hoped that the funding from The Robertson Trust will increase access to high quality, targeted outdoor learning nationwide.

This is an Enterprise Award. These are available to charities currently, or who have been recently, in receipt of an award from the Trust. To find out more about these awards, please read Our Guidelines.

Q&A: Jennie Martin, Executive Director and Founder of Wild things!

What's happened so far with your project?

Since the commencement of our Enterprise Project we have been able to expand delivery of our accredited leader training courses throughout the UK, developing partnerships with The National Marine Aquarium in Devon, and The Ecology Centre in Fife. The Robertson Trust funding enabled us to effectively market our courses and activities to ensure maximum exposure and uptake, and increase our social enterprise income. As a result, this year we were able to successfully train 54 participants on our Woodland and Coastal Activity Leader Training courses. 

What's still to come?

We aim to further expand the geographic reach of our leader training courses with new partner organisations to continue increasing numbers of people participating in Wild things! accredited courses. In addition we will be piloting new shorter accredited courses aimed at teachers and developing more one-day naturalist training courses for the general public. 

What tips would you give to other organisations looking to do this kind of work?

For expanding social enterprise income, it is important to have a clear understanding of the associated costs with delivering activities to ensure that pricing and budgeting is as accurate as possible. Partnership working is also an aspect which deserves considered attention and time to ensure the best possible outcome for both parties.

For delivering outdoor education programmes, training courses and conservation work are important for ensuring your team are all occupationally competent, not just with the hard skills or outdoor education but also the soft skills in group management and how to bring out the best in the clients that you are working with. 

How this would fit with our Giving Strategy 2016-19

In order to successfully apply for funding under our Giving Strategy 2016-19 (launched August 2016), applicants must demonstrate how their work will contribute to one or more of the themes within the Trust's three new funding strands.

Although granted prior to the strategy launch, this application would have been eligible under our new approach as a result of its fit with the following themes:

  • Funding Strand: Strengthening Communities
    Theme 3: Empowering communities

To find out more details about all of our funding strands and themes, please download our Giving Strategy 2016-19.