Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:45

The Eden Project is seeking volunteers to help run a pioneering new programme of activities for grandparents and their grandchildren.

Deep Roots New Shoots is aimed at mobilising the time and talents of older people and is the first time a visitor attraction is putting on targeted sessions to support grandparents.

Through storytelling, outdoor play, craft activities and exploring the site, Eden is hosting the nature-based activities to allow grandparents, grandchildren and volunteers to connect with Eden and each other.

The unique programme is supported by the innovation charity Nesta and the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through the Second Half Fund.

Sessions are devised by Eden’s education team and designed specifically for grandparents and under-fives so they can get ideas for outdoor and imaginary play and meet other grandparents with their grandchildren.

Now Eden is looking for volunteers aged over 50 who can offer their time to support the drop-in activities.

All the Deep Roots New Shoots sessions are included in the general admission charge and take place at 11am and 3pm from Tuesdays to Fridays during school term-time.

Anyone with a background in education or working with children would be particularly suitable for the voluntary roles which involve narrating, facilitating play and working with other volunteers.

Emma Tolley, project coordinator for Deep Roots New Shoots, said: "We recognise the important role grandparents play in supporting their extended and working families and we’re thrilled that they are coming here and using Eden to support their childcare. Now we want to support grandparents better with specific, targeted activities and celebrate what a brilliant job they are doing.

“Through Deep Roots New Shoots we are providing a safe and inspiring space where grandparents and their grandchildren can come, feel welcome, play, engage and meet others. This programme for grandparents is unique and could lead the way for other visitor attractions across the country to put on more activities specifically for this important visitor group.”

Grandmother-of-four Laura Martin who volunteers for the programme said: “I have loved every minute, met some very lovely people and look forward to being here each time I come.

“I would definitely encourage anyone who has been thinking of volunteering. It keeps you active and you get to enjoy the benefits of being in this beautiful place."

In addition to the drop-in activities Eden is running a series of six weekly sessions for grandparents in fields and woodland on its wider estate.

Little Eden for Grandparents is also funded through Nesta and DCMS and is designed to help grandparents who regularly look after their under-fives play and learn together through outdoor games, quests and treasure hunts, making and creating things and even campfire cooking activities.

All the sessions take place outside (weather permitting) at Little Carne Farm which is equipped with a tent, sheltered fire pit and portable toilet.

Places are currently available for the next six-week block starting on September 21 and which will run every Thursday from 1pm to 2.30pm until October 26.

Little Eden for Grandparents is free and no admission to Eden is needed but booking is required.

Sheila Mollard, who has enjoyed Little Eden for Grandparents with her five-year-old grandson Michael, said: “Little Eden was outdoor fun, fantasy and education for Michael. He had supervision and guidance from the well-prepared leaders which enabled me to enjoy the tranquil setting and time to relax with other grandparents. 

“It was a great opportunity to have hands-on outdoor fun with Michael and a wonderful jog down memory lane of playing outdoors as a child myself.”

For more information on volunteering or taking part in Deep Roots New Shoots or Little Eden for Grandparents go to or email

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