Our CIC Report 2021-22  Surviving Covid

Here is our CIC report which was sent to Companies House for the year 2021 - 2022.  Please read and enjoy, and share our great pride in getting through what I think we can all agree was one of the toughest years we have ever experienced.

 

March 2020 found Go Wild With Us in a very new situation.  We were unable to deliver anything at all as we were all in lockdown, and unfortunately did not qualify for any government help.  With no way to generate income we did what we could on a personal basis to cut costs such as taking a mortgage holiday and asking creditors to pause any payments due until the picture became clearer.  In the meantime we did what we could to stay connected with clients.  We offered a free online festival 'Connectfest', and free weekly videos with activities to our followers on social media, yoga classes went on Zoom and we offered a weekly yoga video.  This just about kept us afloat. 

 

In order to be as responsive as we could to the rapidly restricted and unrecognisable situation in which we all found ourselves, we decided to keep doing the things we know we are good at, and which would be most likely to give maximum benefit to everyone we could reach.

 

After several months in lockdown,  we tentatively ventured out in July to start to offer small integrated group sessions (a mix of mainstream and SEND children) which we called Kids Wild Adventure Club (KWAC) with 6 children in each tribe aged 5-11 in Frylands Wood Scout Centre.  We were able to use some of the Bens funding to offer extra staff support to these KWAC sessions to enable us to offer more one to one support for the many children with additional needs who attended.  Their needs mid – pandemic were, as you can imagine, very complex, and in order to offer an integrated service we needed to be able to support them more in order for the sessions to remain open and accessible to everyone who needed it.

 

Luckily we started to go from strength to strength as the need and demand for these sessions was very high.  After a very worrying time, we were starting to be able to see some hope for the future of Go Wild With Us UK. 

Summer 2020 was our busiest yet, with families desperate for their children to get outside and socialise with other children.  We kept groups sizes to just 6 children and established ‘Tribes’ so that we could run simultaneous sessions of small ‘bubbles’ to try and accommodate more children.  We had to increase our prices to cover the staffing costs which folk were willing to support, and for those who couldn’t, we used some of our funding to cover this shortfall.  

 

September saw us returning to delivering Forest School sessions for Bensham Manor School (secondary children with additional needs), and the occasional ad hoc session for other schools and community groups.  October saw us continuing with our holiday club and working with young carers from Off the Record.   We were also really pleased to be able to offer our family ‘Spooktacular’ and ‘Yule’ fun days in October and December, (just literally before the ‘great Christmas lockdown’) by offering them as a prebookable ‘promenade’ event for family bubbles, instead of the usual ‘turn up and mingle’ which we all of course prefer.   We even managed to deliver a couple of kids parties, which were very small but folk were so glad to be able to watch their children celebrate their birthdays outside with others again.

 

In Autumn we also recommenced work with our partners Homestart to deliver free family sessions in Shirley Park securing further funding from both them and Bens Trust to continue to deliver sessions to children and families from the SEND community in 2021 - 2022. 

 

The one thing we were not able to adapt to continue to offer this year were our ‘turn up and mingle’ family sessions and free 1000 hours Outdoors sessions which used to run at weekends and in the holidays in parks and green spaces all around Croydon.  We dropped the 1000 Hours idea fairly promptly in March as we realised that there was going to be no going outside for some, and instead did what we could with our online presence.  We also had to postpone our summer family camp as we felt it was just not possible to run a communal space such as this where we all cook and eat and live together without it being incredibly restricted, and in the end not at all what it was meant to be.  Christmas saw our activities locked down once again until a snowy February half term, except for the school work with Bensham Manor which was allowed to continue.  This was once again a tough time financially, but the income generated over the summer months, and from yoga classes just about carried us through.

 

Over 2020 – 2021, yoga sessions continued to be delivered by twice weekly online Zoom sessions and by weekly video for clients who don’t Zoom, which many clients continued to support (HUGE gratitude to these people) and in June 2020 we began offering yoga in the park for bubbles of 6 which was popular.  Our weekly one to one yoga class was able to continue, but we were not able to run our regular indoor classes.  We did have a significant ‘drop off’ from our previously very well attended groups, but we kept enough folk to be able to stay afloat, and at least had less overheads by using free spaces to teach.

 

All in all we are extremely proud of what we have achieved this year.  It has been so difficult for everyone on so many levels – us included - but we have been blessed in that all the things we deliver as a CIC were the things which were most needed and wanted, which enabled Go Wild to keep on keeping on.  Ben’s Trust Funding really saved us when we needed it most, and we are incredibly grateful to still be here as we move into 2021, hopeful of less restrictions, maybe seeing a return to indoor yoga and bigger groups, more family activities, bigger kids parties and most importantly the chance to reconnect and be together again.

 

We believe we have made a significant impact on the lives of children and families from Croydon this year.  We have had some wonderful feedback from parents and children throughout – it has been great to hear how the physical and mental health of many of the children attending has improved dramatically, and to know that they looked forward to and were reassured by the freedom and the ‘normality’ they could find out in the woods with us.  It has been a real privilege to work with all these families and community groups and to be able to support so many at a time when we have all been struggling. We look forward to continuing this valuable work in the future, with the knowledge that if nothing else, everyone now knows the value of the outdoors, and we hope to continue fanning that flame for years to come.

Suzy Strudwick

Executive Director

Go Wild with Us UK

Picture13.png
Picture17.jpg
Picture2.jpg
Picture5.jpg