An oak tree starts from very humble beginnings, just a wee acorn. There are many stages in its growth, from acorn to shoot, then onto a sapling before progressing to being a tree and eventually being mighty. It weathers many a storm as it grows but it preserves and gets there. It is strong and it has seen a lot, more than most people will realise.
Like the oak, I came from humble beginnings. I grew up in an area of multiple deprivation. Where we knew where the local drug dealer lived (2 doors down) and where people could be murdered and maimed in the street. But, as a child, that was all I knew, it was normal.
My dad had to take early retirement at 38 due to his health, which left mum and dad trying to raise four children without a lot of money. At 16 years old I left school as I wanted to support my family. Eventually, thanks to an amazing couple of bosses, I went to university in my twenties. In my late 30’s I then decided it was time for a new challenge. Love Outdoor Learning was bourn from a desire to help kids, families and educators. It has not been an easy journey. A lot of blood, sweat and many tears have gone into this.
I am explaining all of this as it helps you understand what yesterday meant to me.
Yesterday I spent the day with the BBC and the absolute legend who is Duncan McCallum as we filmed for The Adventure Show. I shared my full journey, the sacrifices my late parents made for me and my siblings and how it all has ended up with me bringing the outdoors to people.
It was amazing, he is someone I admire and the show is one that I love. And they wanted to hear what I had to say!
I had shared previously how I was shortlisted as a finalist for Women Who Achieve. This was in the digital category for our education portal.
Well, yesterday we won this award! This is a wonderful recognition of the schools, teachers and children who use the portal. Their constant support and feedback mean we can continue to improve it. This is what was recognised with the award. It may be our name on the trophy but it is thanks to them that we have received this accolade.
I may have had a humble start to life, but, like the oak, I am growing. I am 40 next year, and I feel like I am starting to make a real change, an impact. And this is just the beginning, there is so much more to come!