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Contact families enjoy memorable day on Countryfile’s Ramble for BBC Children in Need

Monday 8th October 2018

Contact -with -John -Craven -and -Dyfan -2

(From L-R): Contact CEO Amanda Batten, Contact Press Manager Elaine Bennett, Countryfile host John Craven, Dyfan and Contact Development Officer Kate Wyke

On Saturday Contact and some of the families we support in Wales met and walked alongside TV presenters John Craven and Steve Brown as part of Countryfile's Ramble for BBC Children in Need.

The ramble, which included a train ride on the Llanberis Lake Railway and a three-mile walk, was filmed and will be broadcast in a special programme Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need on Sunday 28th October on BBC One.

Kate Wyke, Contact development officer in Wales, said: "We've had such a wonderful day. All the families and children thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a unique and exciting experience and getting to meet TV legend John Craven and former Paralympian Steve Brown.

"Not only have we raised awareness of the excellent work Contact does supporting families with disabled children, we have also helped to raise some money for BBC Children in Need."

Franca Dotolo, mum of Riccardo who is 14 years old and has cerebral palsy, said "Riccardo loved the whole experience, meeting all the lovely people on the ramble, especially speaking so confidently with Countryfile's presenters in front of the cameras.  It was great being outdoors doing something totally different and seeing Riccardo walk the route using his walking frame on smooth terrain. 

"It certainly was a beautiful day and a wonderful experience not only for myself but my whole family. And this could not have happened if it weren't for Contact, we are very grateful for all that they do for the families like ours."

Contact has received BBC Children in Need funding to deliver outdoors fun days for disabled children and their families in Wales.  The forest school events encourage participants to enjoy the great outdoors and learn about nature, at the same time as reducing the isolation that many families with disabled children experience.

Some of the families that benefit from the project were invited to join Countryfile presenters John Craven and Steve Brown on their ramble in Snowdonia to showcase the good work that Children in Need funded projects do.

Kate continued: "Research shows that there are lots of benefits for all children, including those with disabilities, from being outdoors, including reduced stress, increased learning and creativity, improved health and wellbeing and a greater sense of independence.

"We have already delivered nine forest school events across Wales as far and wide as Flintshire and Swansea. Sessions include fire building, making bread on an open fire and stick peeling as well as walking, climbing and taking in the great outdoors."

Feedback from children and parents has been overwhelmingly positive. Children have lots of fun, they enjoy being outside and some even make new friends. Parents tell of their joy seeing their children who are often stuck at home, flourishing being outside, enjoying the natural world. And the parents themselves benefit from being in the great outdoors and socialising with others in a similar situation.

Contact Cymru has three forest school events planned in the remaining months of 2018, which will be held in Denbighshire, Conway and South Wales. To find out further details, keep checking our Wales Facebook page or sign up to our Wales e-bulletin.