Our vision is to facilitate a culture where it is considered healthy and normal for children to play unsupervised in their natural environment.
There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the benefits of play, being outdoors in nature, and children learning through independence and self-directed decision making.
For centuries, children experienced the freedom to roam in their local area from an early age; gradually going further and for longer. The phrase ‘we stayed out till it got dark or were hungry’ resonates with a significant proportion of the adult population.
Such freedoms have gradually disappeared, and it is no longer ‘the norm’ for young children to have the opportunity to explore nature without adults.
Typically, children are not experiencing any unsupervised time in the public realm until an average age of 10.5 years old, whereas even for their parents, it was 7.5 years old.
‘I whole heartily support & believe in this project. As children we were given our freedom to play out all day long completely unsupervised. It’s innate & allows for so many benefits & skills that all children need.’
What Happens in a Session?
Our sessions remove the barriers that prevent parents giving their children the freedoms that many of us enjoyed at their age, by putting a degree of structure in place for families to feel comfortable joining our sessions. We also run sessions for those not ready to access free roaming, to begin their journey of independence in nature.
We promote children’s independence and advocate for their right to play freely, with minimal adult supervision, in a world where so much of their time is increasingly structured.
Who We Are
ROAM was founded in 2018 by Naomi Fisher and Lisa Walke, both mums themselves, and friends for more years than they dare to count! They are both passionate advocates for children’s free play in nature, which motivated them to take positive action, and ROAM was born!
Naomi is a community architect with a passion for facilitating people-led action to make positive change. She was inspired by seeing her own children’s innate desire to experience a form of play she had enjoyed as a child, and yet no longer felt possible. Naomi works part time as ROAM’s Strategic Lead, developing the organisation’s work through new partnerships and networks, and with oversight of business development, income and fundraising, HR and resources. Naomi also runs ROAM Free sessions.
Lisa was ROAM’s Operations Lead until August 2022 when she returned to teaching full time – she is still an integral part of the ROAM team and is now a co-opted member the Board.
In July 2020, ROAM became a registered charity governed by a Board of Trustees, and since November 2021, has a part time Project Administrator, Faye Cutler who has been instrumental in streamlining our systems and back office operations. She is now involved in most aspects of the day to day operation of the charity – everything from preparing papers for the Board, to bookkeeping, funding applications, handling new enquiries and year end reporting. In Autumn 2022, Sarah Marlow joined ROAM to complement Faye’s role. Sarah’s responsibilities include the coordination of the delivery of sessions including registrations, communications with families, and volunteers. Sarah is also one of our regular session leaders.
In addition to Sarah and Naomi, there are three other regular session leaders: qualified forest school leader Sarah Green who co-leads ROAM IN, Emma Watson who leads our Community Playgroup and Jasmine who started with ROAM as a volunteer before coming onboard as a session leader. Meet the team here.
ROAM is very fortunate to have an enthusiastic band of volunteers too, as well as a skilled Board of Trustees led by Chair, Laura Smiley.
Do get in touch if you’re interested in volunteering for ROAM.