Woodcraft Folk face revenge of Labour

11th March 2005 at 00:00
The environment, internationalism, peace, responsibility to others. Are we talking primary personal and social health education here, or perhaps citizenship? No, think again. How about child health in the Third World; the corporate takeover of childhood; Third World debt; the rainforests; and the importance of outdoor life for UK children?

What we are talking about is something the Government has just done its best to kibosh - a nationwide children's movement called the Woodcraft Folk, which has been going for 80 years.

They are non-uniformed, free-thinking fans of a sustainable lifestyle, often to be found camping around the countryside or attending international ecology conferences. Many of their educational materials are used in schools.

Now the Department for Education and Skills has withdrawn their funding, allegedly because there is only so much to go round all these causes. More likely it has something to do with the WF having joined the march against the war in Iraq in 2003. Like a previous Labour party leader, it also supported CND in the 1960s, but times change. It is easy to mock the WF as scouting for the children of lentil-eaters - and only for 9,000 of them at that - but a browse of its website reveals a global-thinking group firmly believing there is such a thing as society.

Who is afraid of the Woodcraft Folk? No, don't write in. We all know the answer to that one.

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