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Our CIC Report 2021-22  

Here is our CIC report which was sent to Companies House for the year 2021 - 2022.  Please read and enjoy!


2021 – The Journey out of the Pandemic


March 2021 saw us moving out of an extremely difficult year and looking ahead hopefully to a year of less restrictions.  We hoped for a return to indoor yoga, bigger group sizes, more family activities, bigger kids parties and most importantly the chance to reconnect and be together again, developing new partnerships and picking up on ones which we were developing and had had to put in hold due to the pandemic. 


Homestart Croydon


We have continued work with young families in our Croydon Homestart sessions which happen in Shirley Church Rec in Shirley, Croydon.  Homestart are a well known and established charity working with families, and the Croydon branch have been our partners for a number of years, offering funding and support to us, developing ideas for how we might work together.  We were lucky enough to be commissioned to run 12 family sessions over the course of the year with a view to continuing into the future for as long as funding allows.  The sessions have been extremely popular with young families, who are able to access them for free, and spend a couple of hours outdoors around a camp fire, taking part in a variety of sensory, Forest School inspired activities together.  The sessions are always fully booked with a waiting list. 




Our Forest School sessions for Bensham School (secondary children with additional needs) continue to be extremely successful and well received, and they run throughout the academic year.  The school and the young people have really valued the continuity we have been able to offer them through all the uncertain times and our relationship grows from strength to strength. 


We were also approached by 2 more schools at the end of 2021 – Ridgeway Primary in Sanderstead and St Peter’s School in South Croydon, requesting our services to offer Forest School in their settings.  Ridgeway already had an established Forest School, but the leader was relocating.  As we had worked alongside them in the past they sought us out, and we started facilitating twice weekly sessions from January 2021.  This is unfolding really nicely and it’s a pleasure to work with a school which is geared up to ensure their students get the most out of their outside space.


St Peters had no Forest School, but were seeking to establish one.  They are located next to Croham Hurst Wood, which is a wonderful space to take the children.  We offered a staff training afternoon to introduce staff who weren’t familiar with it to the ethos of Forest School, and then after some developmental work with staff at the school we put in place weekly sessions starting in January 2022.  We were commissioned to run a year’s worth of weekly sessions which meant every class got to visit the woods at least once in the year for a Forest School experience. Smaller groups of children who perhaps needed more support or who would particularly benefit then came out for 6 consecutive weekly experiences.  The sessions are going very well and the children love the freedom the woods offers them.  We are already seeing positive outcomes in often unexpected places.


Kids Wild Adventure Club


We continued to run integrated sessions (a mix of mainstream and SEND children) in all school holidays throughout the year,  and were able to increase group sizes to up to 10 children in each tribe.  The children were aged 5-11.  Sessions continued to run at Frylands Wood Scout Centre where we felt very settled and happy.  We continued to offer a tiered pricing system to enable low income families to access sessions and will keep this in place going forward.  We also decided we really like lower numbers for these sessions as the quality of experience was so much better for the children attending.  We found that we continue to attract a high number of children with additional needs and this way of working really suited the work we were able to do and the support we were able to give them.


Summer sessions were extended, and saw us offering additional activities such as Tomahawk Throwing, Bee experiences with Mrs Burney’s Bees (another CIC based in Frylands Wood) and Wild Food sessions in partnership with a colleague in the Horticulture industry and local charity Good Food Matters.  Children were able to attend and learn about growing, and then harvest food from the allotments to then turn into a feast over a campfire.  All these sessions were very popular and very well attended.


 Bens Trust Family Retreat


We had carried over our funding from Bens Trust from last year, as we were unable to run big events due to retrictions in the pandemic.  However, this summer we were able to run the Family Retreat that we had planned for 2020.  We offered the retreat as respite to families of children with additional needs.  It was important to us to be able to offer families the chance to have respite, but be at their best together.  Often parents and children are offered respite, but this takes place away from each other and we felt folk were missing the chance to be together when they were put in a place where they were able to relax and ‘hand over’ things like cooking and chores, and have activities provided for them. 


We offered families 2 nights camping in beautiful bell tent accommodation, complete with proper beds and chairs, at the lovely WOWO campsite in Sussex.  In addition to our Forest School inspired activities for the children and families, we offered yoga and fitness sessions each day.  Families could book a free 30 minute massage or treatment which was available throughout the weekend.   We cooked for the families and ate communally.  There were arts and crafts, music around the campfire and there was a live music event in the communal area at WOWO on the last night that we all attended.  It was really well received, and the sense of community and support was palpable.  Connections were made between families, who continue to support each other going forward.  We’d love to do this again but sadly Bens Trust have allocated all the funding left in their fund, so we will need to find another funding source going forward.


Family sessions


We were happy to see the return of family ‘turn up and mingle’ sessions at the end of the year when this became possible and folk felt more comfortable with it.  We ran a more structured event at Beltaine in May, but were happier at our themed annual Spooktacular in October at Frylands Wood and our Yule event at Littleheath Woods in Selsdon.  All were well attended and families were so happy to be able to spend time together outside again without needing to book on specific timeslots and move around independently of each other.  Places were limited but otherwise it was business as usual which was wonderful.



Adult training


We began offering Level 2 trainings in ‘Introduction to Facilitating Outdoor Learning’ to local practitioners and parents working with children in a variety of settings, to get them thinking about how they might continue their journey in their own training to offer outdoor learning with a Forest School ethos.  We had been working in partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust pre-pandemic to develop this accreditation as we wanted something specifically aimed at practitioners based in Croydon.  Our experiences of delivering Forest School in Croydon are significantly different to someone based in a more rural setting, and we wanted to develop a training to reflect that.  It was great to be able to put some of this into practice and we held 2 very successful trainings in 2021, putting local practitioners in contact with each other and supporting their development in their own settings.


Our Exec Director also shadowed a Forest School Level 3 training course over 2, 3 day sessions, with Surrey Wildlife Trust, as a co-facilitator with a view to potentially offering the same kind of thing through Go Wild. Although this was very enjoyable, it was felt that offering this kind of qualification would be very admin heavy and would not really suit our ethos of free flowing learning.  We have started working on developing our own learning experiences to offer local people which cost less and are a bit more flexible.


Saffron Valley PRU 


We were approached by a local Pupil Referral Unit in Croydon to offer a series of camps for their groups of young people.  Typically these young people are more challenging to work with than a mainstream school for a wide variety of reasons.  We were approached because of our expertise in youth work and in working with individuals who need that bit of extra support.  There were 3 staff there who were very keen to support this and were prepared to offer these more vulnerable groups the experience of outdoors overnight.  We offered them 2 days of camping to 2 small groups in September 2021.  Although groups were small it was an incredibly valuable piece of work.  Real break-throughs were made and it was deeply emotional watching young people engage with nature who otherwise would never get the opportunity.  It really felt like we had planted the seed of a love for nature for some of them.  Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons the staff team we worked with are now no longer at the PRU, so the planned sessions we’d had for 2022 will not go ahead.  Its always really sad when this happens, but often an inevitability for staff working in these more difficult environments.


Tangled Feet 


We were once again asked to facilitate the ‘ending’ camp for Tangled Feet Dramatherapy sessions.  We have worked with this charity annually for four years now and the work is very rewarding.   Young people who are young carers are offered free Dramatherapy sessions by Tangled Feet for a year, and when the 2020 cohorts came to an end, we were asked to support staff in creating a suitable ‘ending’ event in March 21.  This is normally an overnight camp, however due to the pandemic, staff felt it would be better to offer a day camp instead, but for a longer duration than our usual sessions, including dinner in the woods after sunset.  This we did, and it was a lovely event as always, blending the therapeutic skills of the TF staff with our outdoor expertise and activity ideas.  As always it is a powerful and bonding experience for everyone involved.


Wild Woman / Man sessions 


In January we decided that we’d like to to offer some Women and Men only opportunities for folk to gather around a camp fire, eat, relax and chat.  This came about as a result of talking to lots of different people, parents, friends, colleagues who expressed a wish for something like this to take place.  We piloted the separate sessions in January with some success.  A lovely day was had by all the women and men, with some fun cooking ideas, chat and community.  We hope to continue to offer these low cost sessions at various times throughout the year for as long as they are wanted.  


Granny Pearl 


In August we partnered up with the wonderful Jenny Lockyer, performance artist, to run a workshop down at Birling Gap beach in Sussex.  Her wonderful children’s play ‘Granny Pearl’ involving puppets and acoustic musical shenanigans led to Jenny bringing some workshops to various beaches in the UK, and we were asked to co-facilitate this one!  It was a real pleasure to be involved with.  Several families from Croydon were encouraged down to the beach for the day to join in with wonderful activities, songs, exploration and a picnic together.  A lovely community event, a bit different from our usual remit, which we’d love to repeat!


Birthday parties 


Birthday parties were back in full this year, seeing us facilitate a number of celebrations in Frylands Wood and other local woodland.  In some cases we made a theme come to life, in others it was a wonderful free flow, Forest School Inspired experience for children and adults alike!


So Sussex… 


We developed a new partnership with an organisation called ‘So Sussex’ with a view to expanding our remit a little to include work in the Sussex area, as the Executive Director aims to relocate there in the future.  We facilitated a very successful Forest School session for them in the YHA Holmbury St Mary in the Surrey Hills, but it proved to be too far out to continue to be feasible do these – particularly with a move to Sussex in mind.  We also were asked to support a community festival in May 2022 held by So Sussex, called Elderflower Fields, so we plan to send a team of 6 along to this to offer a ‘Woodland Creation Station’ for families in attendance.  




Our 3 weekly yoga sessions returned to the indoor spaces and continue to be well attended.  We had a small amount of ‘drop off’ due to the pandemic, but we also continue to attract a small number of new members, so the universe continues to fill the gaps with little effort from us.


Going forward… 


The team are very proud of what we have achieved this year.  Looking at all the different pieces of work we have facilitated and co-facilitated, we are so happy to know that our presence in Croydon remains strong and our contributions to the community are valued.


We believe we have made a significant impact on the lives of children, adults, families, schools and charities in Croydon this year.  We have had some wonderful feedback from partners, parents and children throughout and it continues to be a real privilege to work with all these families and community groups and to be able to support so many, as we all emerge rather tenuously from a time when we have all been struggling to survive, connect and look after ourselves and our families.


We look forward to continuing this valuable work in the future, helping folk to start to thrive once again, working with more partners and spreading the love of the outdoors ever further with each year we continue.



Suzy Strudwick

Executive Director

Go Wild with Us UK

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