People from across Cornwall have been developing their personal skills and qualifications in the unique setting of Idless Woods, near Truro, helping them to overcome personal barriers and progress in work.

The course is part of a European Social Funded project entitled family and community essential skills being delivered by CSW Group. Participants can expect to achieve raised qualification and skills levels together with a range of other benefits such as higher levels of self-esteem, raised aspirations and the removal of barriers to learning such as transport and childcare.

In recent weeks, the group have learned skills including cooking in the wild, making woodland craft items and art, alongside confidence and teambuilding techniques gained through a range of trust building exercises.

Councillor Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for economy, said: “Investments in Cornwall should reach a broad audience and achieve a wide spectrum of outcomes. It is extremely important that we make available a variety of support options for people to develop their personal skills that will help them to grow their confidence. We are all different and we learn in different ways. The forest school activity is excellent."

Steve Guthrie, who previously took the course, said: “Nature workshops opened my eyes. I feel like I have been blind for 40 years and now I can see again. The whole approach to learning and the construction of lessons for people has been a completely new learning curve for me. I can see I have a whole new future for me in this profession. I really want to do forest school level three practitioner training so I can establish myself as self-employed.”

Course leader at the nature workshops team, Dawn, said: “Discussions throughout the day form a huge part of the learning and participants are never far away from their note book and pencil. Our forest school is a programme where activities are tailored to individual needs to ensure that all mental, emotional and physical and spiritual needs are met.”

Paul Hobson, CEO of CSW Group, added: “One of the great benefits of the family and community essential skills project is that it offers a holistic approach to the support available; enabling us to offer activities tailored to individual needs. This flexibility means that we can address a wide range of issues that may be preventing people from progressing in work and life, including physical, mental and emotional barriers.”

Anyone wishing to access the programme should email Family&