Go Wild at Hudnall sessions are for young people who are at risk of, or living with, emotional wellbeing issues or mental ill health. They focus on improving emotional wellbeing through a wide range of nature-based activities. The project also offers opportunities to volunteer to create and improve wildlife habitats at Hudnall Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.
During the sessions the young people learn about nature and gain new practical skills at the same time as improving their social and emotional skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, resilience and emotional regulation. It is a safe space where they can feel part of the community and are given the freedom to make their own choices.
Some of the feedback from the young people who took part in Go Wild at Hudnall sessions in 2022:
“I really enjoyed being outdoors and being able to choose what to do.”
“I love everything! The freedom to choose being outside. How to make fires was excellent… seeing the deer.”
“It was finally good to be around people like me without feeling different, thank you.”
A new People and Wildlife Officer joined the project in September; here are some of her highlights from the term:
“The sheer enthusiasm the young people show on arrival and their keenness to get down to the woods is amazing. In my first session a young person demonstrated real perseverance in attempting to light a fire, and when finally successful the absolute joy just radiated from them.
“Another memorable moment was watching the young people work together to help a friend out of the crater they had climbed into.
“It was great to see accompanying adults display the same amount of enthusiasm as the young people and really get involved!"
The project has also created an orchard with heritage variety fruit trees, desilted and profiled the pond, and introduced sheep conservation grazing on the grassland at Hudnall Park.
Several species of bats were recorded in 2022, including Barbastelle and Nathusius’ pipistrelle which are priority species in Hertfordshire, with very few roosts recorded in the UK.
SfYP will be delivering Go Wild at Hudnall sessions throughout 2023 as well as a monthly Youth Volunteer Conservation Project on the second Saturday of each month.
Go Wild at Hudnall is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by Services for Young People in partnership with Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust.