Services for Young People Hertfordshire Services for Young People

Go Wild at Hudnall feedback

Here are some of the comments we received from those who took part in Go Wild at Hudnall

Young person with open hands holding a yellow caterpillar on a leaf.

"Great to be challenged with activities requiring perseverance"

“Three of my children and I spent a lovely few hours at your Easter school holiday Forest School session. Highlights of this session include racing tyres down a hill to hit a target, making s'mores and colouring rocks. We were made to feel welcome and it was great for the girls to be challenged with a good walk and activities that required perseverance. Thank you.”

Parent who attended a Go Wild at Hudnall Easter Family Forest School session with their children, April 2024

"That was the best day ever mum!"

My two children (aged four and seven) absolutely loved every minute, from rolling tyres down a hill to hit a target to hunting for newts, toasting marshmallows and den building. My son commented, "That was the best day ever mum!" This is such a valuable experience for both my children and myself, for our mental health, wellbeing and communication skills. A massive thank you to the SfYP People and Wildlife Officers for another fabulous Forest School session.

Parent who attended a Go Wild at Hudnall Easter Family Forest School session with their children, April 2024


"My son comes home happy and enthusiastic"

My son has been attending for just over a year, and it has been absolutely brilliant for him. He has been out of education since the start of 2020, due to autism and mental health problems, but the small informal conservation group has given him an opportunity to socialise just a little bit, learn a lot of new skills, and spend some time outdoors in nature. He always comes home happy and enthusiastic about his sessions there. 

Parent of a young person who attends the monthly Go Wild Youth Volunteer Conservation Project at Hudnall Park, April 2024


"All children need this experience"

I took my daughter and her friend... It was absolutely fantastic!... The girls enjoyed finding newts, rolling tyres down hills to hit a target, making a fire and cooking popcorn and smores, getting utterly muddy and completely relaxing in the great outdoors. Not a screen in sight - not even to take pictures, they were so engrossed! I was so thrilled to see them having so much fun outside! All children need this experience. This service is vital to the mental well being of our younger generation...The children of today absolutely need this sort of experience in abundance... The SfYP People and Wildlife Officers were exceptional in their knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for wildlife and nature. They had prepared a vast variety of activities to engage a wide age range of children...  What a wonderful, wonderful service for our children... we will be returning again and again, we loved every minute of it.

Parent of a young person who attended a Go Wild at Hudnall Easter Family Forest School session, April 2024


"What an amazing resource"

“We heard from a friend about this wonderful place and we were not disappointed. We took our two-year-old granddaughter after assurance that the day would suit her well and it did, it was brilliant, she hasn’t stopped talking about it. While she was the youngest child there she was very much part of the group, she was included in everything and all of her needs were catered for at a level which enabled her to participate fully. There were too many highlights to list, but spotting a crested newt in the pond, rolling tyres doen a hill to hit a target, helping to light the fire and toasting marshmallows were some of them. All of which was enabled by fantastic facilitators, who were warm, friendly and professional throughout, establishing a lovely rapport and engagement with children and adults alike. We just wish we lived closer, what an amazing resource. Thank you.”

Grandparent of a child about their experience at a Go Wild at Hudnall Easter Family Forest School session, April 2024

 

"An experience we would love to repeat!"

“The young people and staff had a great experience at Go Wild. The staff were welcoming and friendly and understood and supported the needs of the young people. All young people benefitted from attending the sessions which provided a space for the young people to work together, follow instructions, challenge themselves and develop resilience. Parents were so happy seeing their young people eager and keen to attend which is not something that our young people tend to show. All young people developed new skills and the adults and young people who attended would love to repeat the experience!"

Assistant Headteacher at Links Academy, St Albans, April 2024


"Developed resilience and creativity"

“Children from The Collett School, a special needs school in Hemel Hempstead, enjoyed wonderful experiences at Hudnall Common. The children enjoyed learning outdoors and it developed resilience and creativity as well as developing social skills and following instructions. Thank you so much to the Go Wild team for all they do!”

Headteacher, The Collett School in Hemel Hempstead, April 2024

 

"A unique and special opportunity to experience nature and the outdoors"

“We had such an amazing time at Go Wild Forest school sessions! Our group of eight special educational needs students absolutely loved it and from the first session it was so brilliant to see them engaging so well and their confidence growing. A lot of our students struggle with anxiety and trying new things, so it was particularly wonderful to see them overcoming this and pushing past barriers that often hold them back at school and home. The Go Wild Team were brilliant with making the sessions engaging and accessible to all, including a wheelchair user who we managed to support to engage in so many activities... This particular student commented on a number of occasions during the sessions that she felt ‘free’ and that this is something she has not been able to feel before due to her disabilities. As a lot of our students also come from underprivileged backgrounds, this was a unique and special opportunity for them to experience nature and the outdoors which many of them have not done before. All staff attending commented that the students had built so much confidence during the sessions and it was noted that their general wellbeing had improved greatly since attending the weekly sessions. School staff also noticed an improvement in their wellbeing and engagement at school since attending the sessions. We want to say a massive thank you to the Go Wild team, and we hope the sessions can continue to provide amazing, unique and enriching experiences that our young people so desperately need. Thank you so much!”

Teacher,  St Luke's School in Redbourn, April 2024

 

“A safe nurturing space”

"I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing Family Forest School events that are hosted by [the SfYP People and Wildlife Officers] at Hudnall Park. My son has benefitted immensely from them. His confidence and knowledge of the natural world has also grown. He recently asked for us to sign up for litter picking, inspired by the close contact with nature he has at Hudnall Park. He has autism, and as his mum, it is very rare for me to be able to fully relax on an outing. But this happens at Hudnall Park, with him being fully engrossed in all activities, able to be on his own agenda and in an enclosed safe nurturing space. The [SfYP People and Wildlife Officers] are always so attuned and responsive to all the children. There is a notable happiness and sense of wellbeing for him in the days following Forest School sessions. He has even wished that he could attend Hudnall Park instead of school! A compliment indeed! So grateful for these opportunities and a big thank you and hug of appreciation to the staff who run and arrange these."

Parent of a young person about their experience at Go Wild at Hudnall Family Forest School sessions, March 2024

 

“Memories they will never forget”

"Once again the [SfYP People and Wildlife Officers] have been amazing. The learners from DESC have had the best time coming to Hudnall park. They have done some things they have never experienced before, trying new things and being able to express themselves. One learner said it was the best time of his life coming to Hudnall! Another had never been to the wood before and he had the best time too, seeing the deer and making fires! Memories they will never forget. I also have really enjoyed myself. Go Wild is the highlight of my week. You have really have helped some learners in so many ways. A massive THANK YOU!"

Primary Behaviour Service (DPBS) Practitioner at Dacorum Education Support Centre in Hemel Hempstead, March 2024


“So important to the young people”

"I have been attending Go Wild at Hudnall as part of an organisation who work with vulnerable young people and aim to reintegrate them back into mainstream education. The [SfYP People and Wildlife Officers] have been amazing and the sessions that they lead are so important to the young people that attend. The activities they organise and their kind, caring nature mean that the young people are able to build positive relationships with adults outside of centre, which is important for a successful integration back into mainstream education. I am very grateful for all their hard work so THANK YOU!"

Practitioner,  Dacorum Education Support Centre (DESC) in Hemel Hempstead, March 2024

 

“The best time ever”

"We were made to feel incredibly welcome and at ease... [the two] SfYP People and Wildlife Officers are fantastic. They are incredibly knowledgeable about the importance of developing the whole child, as well as having an extensive knowledge of the environment. The children were given freedom to explore, they felt safe and asked many questions. Observing the wildlife was wonderful and the children practised new skills. The tyres were a real highlight [rolling them down the hill to hit a target]! On their return to school, one of the children was smiling from ear and ear, telling us all that she has had “the best time ever!” Thank you."

Assistant Headteacher at York Mead Primary School in Rickmansworth,  January 2024

“A safe and accessible space for young people”

"The students that attended [the session] all have significant social, emotional and mental health needs and the Go Wild People and Wildlife Officers were flexible, adaptable and massively accommodating of the students’ needs... They helped them to engage with, and let them lead on activities. It provided a safe and accessible space for the young people to relax, have fun and be themselves."

Teacher from Links Academy, a local education support centre in St Albans, December 2023

 

"Encouraging participation, enthusiasm and curiosity"

“[The young person] and I had a wonderful time at the ‘Creatures of the night’ event…Thank you for these opportunities and to [the SfYP People & Wildlife Officer] for going above and beyond to encourage [the young person’s] enthusiasm and curiosity. He has autism and [People & Wildlife Officer] was absolutely attuned and on hand to encourage his participation in activities and made these accessible to him… He is still raving this morning about locating/seeing the bats, the smooth newts and deer.”

Education Adviser in the Virtual School for Children Looked After about their experience at a Go Wild at Hudnall summer nature connection session, August 2023

"An amazing experience"

“[My son] had an absolute blast doing this session! We’ve been newt and bat hunting and seen deer and now [the last activity is] toasting marshmallows on a campfire! We’ll definitely be interested in doing some more! It’s been an amazing experience for him! Thank you so much for the recommendation.”

Parent of a young person about their experience at a Go Wild at Hudnall summer nature connection session, August 2023

"Completely accessible to all"

“We really enjoyed our day with the Go Wild team. It was amazing to see the confidence in the children grow throughout the day…and was lovely to see everyone getting involved supporting each other and having fun. It was completely accessible to all staff, parents and children and we look forward to coming back soon.”

Hertfordshire County Council Adoption Team Leader about an activity day for families who have adopted children, May 2023

“The best night of her life!”

“Thank you so much for having us at 'Creatures of the night' yesterday. Please pass our thanks along to [both People and Wildlife Officers]. They were brilliant and very kind and patient with my children. My children all absolutely loved it and my daughter said it was the best night of her life! Thank you again for having us.”

A parent of young people who took part in a Go Wild at Hudnall May 2023 half term event


"Great to do something fun outdoors"

“Just wanted to say thank you to you all for the fantastic event last Thursday evening that myself and my two boys attended in Hudnall Park. Great venue, brilliant activities and very knowledgeable staff! My sons came back full of chatter about the activities and said that they REALLY enjoyed it. It was also great for me to be able to do something fun with them outdoors in the evening.”

A parent of two young people who attended Go Wild at Hudnall Easter sessions in 2023


"Perfect experience for our family"

"We had a fantastic day. We learnt about woodland animals, bugs and creatures. Den building was great fun. Building and maintaining a fire was a great experience to keep everyone warm and dry under the shelter. Our [Services for Young People] leader was fabulous, her knowledge and passion for wildlife is fantastic! She made the day a perfect experience for our family. She was a perfect blend of fun and professional, playing on the rope swing and teaching the young people. Highly recommended!"

Parent who attended a Go Wild family day

"Flourishing in a safe environment"

“I enjoyed watching the children flourish in the safe but exciting environment - exploring new activities, problem solving with rope swings and ladders, making craft out of natural materials, and discovering animal trails.”

Teaching Assistant, local primary school

"A big confidence booster"

“The first group we sent [to Go Wild at Hudnall Park], included a young person with Autism. She was so shy she wouldn’t look at you, but she came back afterwards and said, ‘I can’t believe that Go Wild at Hudnall made me such a confident person’. It is such a big confidence booster for children who need that... they really benefit from it.

Teacher, local school

"Enriching project"

"Many of the young people [at our school] only know the four walls of the school and of their own homes. They come back from Go Wild at Hudnall having learned how to build a fire and how to make a rope swing. For those young people, an enriching project like Go Wild in a setting like Hudnall Park, is an amazing and beneficial resource socially, emotionally and in terms of mental health."

Teacher, local school

 "Supporting young people's mental health"

“The Wild Wellbeing session was a wonderful opportunity for young people to participate in activities they might not engage with within the parameters of their day to day lives. The session effectively utilised a natural environment to demonstrate strategies for supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Further to this, the strategies were demonstrated in a tangible way, which will mean they can be incorporated into ongoing work with the young people, for example, at projects or during one-to-one sessions. Young people fed back that they had thoroughly enjoyed the session, particularly taking part in new activities.”

Youth Worker, Services for Young People

"Pitched perfectly for the group"

“It was lovely to see the Serenity group chilling out, they all got involved with all the activities and I feel for some they may use back at home. The day was pitched perfectly for the group. Mindfulness is so important for the group to practice, it will help them both short term and long term. Some of the group were receiving their GCSE results so to have a day out with nature was really just what they needed. Hudnall Park reminded some of the group of a residential that we did. For some the residential was a huge personal challenge, so to see the group back, relaxing and being able to reflect with them about how far they have come was a real opportunity."

Youth Worker, Services for Young People

"Willing to give everything a try"

"The Go Wild People & Wildlife Officer at Hudnall suggested an idea, that we could play a game using the whole forest to hide. I didn’t want to be critical at the time, but it was cold and raining and I really thought we wouldn’t last the hour they had set aside. In fact, we repeated the game seven times and the young people loved it! We work with children who are normally dismissive of everything and instead they were  willing to give everything a try."

Teacher, local secondary school

"Fantastic to watch"

“One young person who struggles with school and has regular exclusions really enjoyed the day, knuckling down to the hard jobs like digging without a word of a moan. He worked together as a team and dug a big hole in tough hard ground. I was shocked and I really reflected and reminded myself how much the school environment is not for all. I was also proud of their achievements and it helped me gain a different perspective of how to meet the group's needs in the future. Watching the boys in a new environment and being given responsibility (using hammers and drills) was fantastic to watch.”

Youth Worker, Services for Young People

 "Absolutely fantastic"

"Many of our students thrive most outdoors. In the classroom, they can struggle to concentrate, sit still and follow instructions. To take them outside, where they are in charge of what they do and teach them to set their own rules and boundaries has been absolutely fantastic." 

Teacher, local secondary school 

 

"A connection with nature"

"All this lovely effort that has gone into making the site ready for young people for years to come... planting the orchard, managing the woodlands for wildlife, clearing the pond and so on. The project is designed really well and has huge potential. Go Wild at Hudnall isn’t a one-off thing; once a person has established a connection with nature, they can find it anywhere..."

Go Wild People & Wildlife Officer, Go Wild at Hudnall


Want to take part?

If you would like to know more about future projects, make a booking or refer a young person to the programme, please contact the Services for Young People Go Wild Team: