Our term time programme

For young people referred from mental health professionals and educators

SisterWood runs a term-time programme for young women aged 12-16 from lower socio-economic and marginalised backgrounds. These young people are referred to SisterWood because their mental wellbeing impacts their day-to-day life and relationship with school or other educational setting. They may be experiencing some form of anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental ill health, or be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, with or without a diagnosis.

This programme takes place one day a week throughout a full academic term and is aimed at those who would otherwise struggle to access this kind of intervention, offering free-to-access places with funding from grant funders and our incredible community.

The SisterWood term time programme gives young people the opportunity to form a foundation for their mental wellbeing, learning practical skills blended with mindfulness-based activities. 

The natural environment gives endless opportunities for nature connection in a demand-free space, promoting collaboration with the group to develop a strong sense of community that widens the sense of self.

To enhance the impact of our approach, we work in collaboration with local organisations to bring in guest facilitators who have specialist knowledge in a particular area – for example, nutrition, breathwork and the menstrual cycle to name a few recent examples. In this way, we strengthen community connections, giving the young people an idea of what they can get involved in beyond the SisterWood programme.

The young people are referred to us from schools or Early Help; CAMHS; social prescribers, youth organisations and other professionals. 

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Author Braiding Sweetgrass

“It is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes. We have to put our hands in the earth to feel whole again”

Our next taster day for the upcoming term time programme is Friday 1st March 2024.

Please click one of the buttons below to make a referral or find out more.

Fireside: our extra-curricular programme

For those looking for additional support outside of school

Fireside is our new after school programme for young people identifying as female aged 12-16, running from April – September 2024. Bringing in all the favourite elements of the term time programme, young people will join us for fun evenings in the woods, learning skills to help them navigate life and create connections to last a lifetime.

Through our forest school-style sessions, young people will gain a sense of empowerment in an all-female space, learning how to wield hand tools to create beautiful objects, build fires, tie knots and construct dens along with other nature connection activities and games. We also draw on yoga, mindfulness, breathwork and singing among other calming practices to help them connect and relax into the slower pace of the natural world. 

These sessions are open for parents / carers to book and are charged on a sliding scale. Sessions run from 16:30 – 19:30 on Thursday evenings from April. Click the button below to book!


Core elements of SisterWood

SisterWood programmes are aimed to be as supportive as possible for the young people who come to us. We therefore keep group sizes small with a maximum of 10 young people at any time. Cultivating community is at the heart of what we do, and sharing circles are held at the start and end of each session, with plenty of games threaded throughout a session. To create a toolkit for confidence and resilience, we always offer a blend of practical skills with mindfulness based activities, shaping these around the needs of the group. Below are further descriptions of two more core aspects of our programmes: the activities we do and eating together.


All of the activities throughout our programmes are designed so that the young people learn practices they can incorporate into their lives to support their mental wellbeing, and to take further if they choose to. The activities we do are selected on what would best meet the needs of the individuals who come to us and may include:

Sharing meals

Cooking over the fire and eating together really brings people together. At SisterWood we share healthy nutritious food that incorporates foraged ingredients when we can find them. All food will be vegetarian with dietary requirements met where necessary, with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients. This way, the young people will not only learn important skills in cooking good food which is fundamental for mental wellbeing, but also about the abundance of food in our local environment. 

  • Fire lighting
  • Dance 
  • Storytelling
  • Nutrition
  • Meditation
  • Tool use
  • Pottery
  • Whittling
  • Den building
  • Yoga
  • Plant/Tree ID
  • Tying knots
  • Pottery
  • Making music
  • Weaving
  • Singing
  • Traditional craft
  • Exploration
  • Breathwork
  • Iimprovisation
  • Tree climbing
  • Felting
A deeper understanding

What is Forest School and the SisterWood approach?

Forest school is a holistic approach to education that has roots in Scandinavia and first came to the UK in the 1990s. Originally focused on primary school-aged children, it incorporates practical tasks such as fire lighting and using hand tools to develop a young person’s social, emotional, creative, cognitive and motor skills. However, with vast amounts of research proving the benefit of outdoor nature engagement for mental health and wellbeing*, and many young people seeking support, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, SisterWood meets this need head on. SisterWood acknowledges the unique stressors that affect those who identify as female within the patriarchal, fast-paced culture that we live in, and works to support young women and those who identify as female to thrive in their own unique way, connected with their bodies, their community and the world around them.

*Check out our Research Page for links to resources!