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Published: 16 Aug 2021

Wild and Well: VICTA charity celebrates John Muir Award experience

Aware that feelings of isolation and loneliness are dominant within the world of visual impairment our activity-based learning is carefully constructed to optimise opportunities that are positively associated with social acceptance, a sense of belonging and improved mental health and wellbeing. Many of the most successful activities that achieve this are delivered in nature or wild settings.

Visually impaired young adults feeling and passing rocks and shells from the beach.As deliverers of the John Muir Award, we have seen first-hand the impact of our young people taking part in outdoor activities. Our very first John Muir activity on Skomer Island exposed participants to an environment completely separated from anything they had experienced before. However, the result has been positive and long lasting.

The remoteness of the location and the removal of the usual ‘background noise’ of everyday life completely altered the sensory experience for the group, particularly at night time. One participant described this and how much she learned about the different wildlife on such a small island:

It was peaceful, I loved the healthy sea air. We had fun spending time at various parts of the island. It was good to learn about the wildlife and nature, exploring the rock pools and beach. It was good to learn about the different seaweeds, sucker fish, crabs, limpets, etc.”

In a time where the pandemic has highlighted the importance of outdoor spaces, we have recognised even more so the impact that connecting to nature has for all of us. For visually impaired young people, the benefits and positives of exploring wild spaces are tremendous and we will continue to include these opportunities as part of our activity delivery.

VICTA is a charity supporting visually impaired children and young people through activity based experiences and opportunities. We envision a world where young people who are blind or partially sighted thrive, where their voices are heard, and they influence decisions which affect their lives. Our programmes are designed to help young people build capability and resilience to deal with challenges, and where they are optimistic about their future.

If you would like to join VICTA doing this, they are always on the look out for new volunteers. Contact or visit the VICTA website to find out more.

VICTA John Muir Award on Skome Island 2