Summers at Pinkery

Attracting inner city teenagers to get to know one of their most beautiful public assets - Exmoor National Park


See eXfactor film (Pinkery 2005)

Listen to Radio Programme (Pinkery 2006)

See an example of a film made in Film Week – Rambling on Exmoor                            (Raised in Somalia, a refugee in Bristol, one young man discovers the peace of Exmoor to be an inspiration for reflections on identity & belonging).


During the summers of 2005 and 2006 we worked in partnership with several Bristol-based organisations to run courses at Pinkery Residential Centre in Exmoor National Park.

Over each summer’s six week period we ran a series of themed weeks where groups participated in range of creative workshops (including music, dance, film making, martial arts and survival activities) and outdoor pursuits (including sailing, windsurfing, quad biking, canoeing, beach sports, surfing, body boarding, climbing, mountain biking, falconry and horse riding). 

The Project was established in partnership with Exmoor National Park Authority to develop long term, sustainable relationships with Exmoor for a wide range of newcomers.  We also succeeded in showing how a week-long stay can reap a multiplicity of simultaneous benefits that are reflected in the remits and strategies of a wide range of government agencies and funding bodies:

  • Developing creativity (Arts Council)
  • Health and wellbeing - good food & exercise, fun, freedom & power (The Department of Health)
  • Connecting Communities (The Home Office; Commission for Racial Equality)
  • Developing social skills, teamwork and confidence (DfES; Home Office)
  • Participation in sport and outdoor activities (Sport England)
  • Accessing and developing an understanding of the countryside, conservation & sustainability (DfES; Defra)
  • Exposure to positive role models, the chance to reflect, expand horizons, self-development (Connexions, Youth Justice Board, Home Office)
  • Supporting rural economies (Defra, RDA)

The following organisations participated:

Ashley Youth Project, Connexions,  Full Circle, Channel 0, Knowle West Media Project,  Bread Youth Project’s Kumani Group, Lawrence Weston Youth Group, Bristol City Academy,  Dance Bristol, St Paul’s & Felix Road Adventure Playgrounds, The Mede, Inns Court (Bristol City Council Young People’s Services), Positive Futures’ Project X in Knowle West, Knowle West Media Centre, Young Bristol, Youth Music Action Zone.  Many young people were referred by Social Services.

Our action research project has shown the value for money that can be achieved through the use of public funds to enable people to access the countryside who may not normally do so and the huge range of benefits that are gained when people can step out of the normal environment that shapes them.  It has also shown something that would probably come as a shock to much of the British public -- just how little opportunity and choice many people in our society have to do simply that.

Please see The eX Factor Project-- Blueprint & Findings for more information on the design and impact of the project.

"I’m on a music and singing and dance course, and I decided to do that on Pinkery, it inspired me to do that - this is the direction I wanted to go in, whereas I was just wandering around feeling crap."
Participant, Summers at Pinkery
"Pinkery kind of prompted me to do the course I’m doing at college. It opened my mind a little bit more. Yeah, I’m doing a small campaign for foster care. I’m helping someone do the media for that."
Participant, Summers at Pinkery
"It’s been amazing, I’m so happy to get away from Hartcliffe so I can meet different people. (Here) you’ve got time to think about what you want to do when you get back, if you want to change. I’ve changed I reckon… The first week I come back I didn’t get into trouble for two weeks. That ASBO should have been off ages ago. Since then if someone says, let’s go and do some stupid stuff, I just go in and watch a film. I know I ain’t getting in no trouble ever again. I don’t want to go to jail. Once in school I was told I am a people person, only once, but I didn’t believe them. But when I come here, I started talking, and I didn’t know no man, and I learnt how to talk to people that I wouldn’t normally. I have that ADHD. Now I’ve learnt to control my anger, I’ve learnt to forget about it, forget about it all."
Participant, Summers at Pinkery
"I was thinking about that village we passed, how it would be nice to live there for a couple of months."
Participant, Summers at Pinkery
"Darren, has been working with me for about a year and he never really took part, he was always on the peripheral, letting other people get on with the work, didn’t really have the confidence, just watching. But he came to Pinkery, and he learned a lot, he worked hard, and since we’ve come back, he’s just been so much more confident… He’s totally turned around from being right on the edge to being right in the centre. It’s really paid off for him. He’s really going places. I think it’s affected other parts of his life, as well, that sort of confidence.”
Music Tutor, Summers at Pinkery
"The Pinkery experience was something that the young people will never forget and on the last day they were hugging and crying with each other, as they just didn’t want to leave.”
Connexions Key Workers’ Evaluation Report on Survival Week
"Some of the girls that came to Pinkery…have become the core of a new girl’s music club I’ve set up now. And they’re bringing more people in…That was down to the connection made at Pinkery. So there was a lot of goodness come out of it that’s carried on."
Music Tutor, Summers at Pinkery
"They’ve got their assumptions that when they go away they’ll get treated worse, and that could be true, but generally, again, that’s a misconception. Sometimes the fear that makes you not do something is just the fear of it. But going away to Exmoor, you find that some of your misconceptions are not true. So going there now is obviously going to be an option. You know you’re going to be fine. You know you can survive for the night, you can find a B&B if you want to go there for a week with your family. You know, it’s as accessible to you as it is to anyone else. You’re a human being, you can go anywhere in this world."
Connexions inner city key worker, Summers at Pinkery