Running Deer is nearly 6 years old!
Running Deer C.I.C was established in 2011 providing bushcraft activities for children with special educational needs and their families. The weekend bushcraft activities introduced them to fire lighting, den building, food foraging and camp fire cooking! It encouraged team work and group participation and parent/child bonding experiences.
The journey of a user led CIC
We have been on quite a journey over the last few years. We have gone from running our activities in fields and woodlands owned by friends and neighbours to owning our own wood on the very edge of Dartmoor. With access to Woodland Trust property as well, and based so close to the moors we are very fortunate in the different landscapes we can access.
As a user led organisation we have been pulled in many directions – providing services where they are needed. From starting off with weekend bushcraft activities we have successfully developed unique and intensive rural skills and horticulture courses, horticulture projects, working with some of the most marginalised people in society.
We have re-trained and supported adults into work, provided apprenticeships and created jobs. We have seen students develop their own businesses, go on to further education and find within themselves the confidence and self-esteem to take on new challenges.
We have gone full circle and once again we are working with children and young people with Special Educational Needs and have become a DfE registered independent school.
Now we provide structured learning and therapeutic programmes for children and young people with special educational needs
This is an exciting time for us. Our initial concerns about becoming a school have proved unfounded and it is obvious that Running Deer Independent School is where we need to be at this time – fulfilling our objectives of being user led – and supporting people at risk of exclusion.