Our pioneering scheme which uses wildlife and the great outdoors to improve the lives of disadvantaged young parents has won an award.

Child holding holding a bucket © RSPCA The ‘Hastings Wild Things’ project, under serious funding threat, is based at our Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre and aims to boost the prospects of local families through a range of activities at its woodland nature reserve.

Last week the scheme won the Junior Section Environmental Achievement award at the SPARK awards, run by East Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services.

But the lottery funding it won in 2010 is due to run out this summer and without extra funding it will be hard for the project to continue. We are asking for help to continue the project. We are also calling for more children’s wellies to help the groups stomp through the woodland trails.

RSPCA head of education Dave Allen said:

“This project is just so unique as reflected in the recent award. Not only is it invaluable for the young groups who go to Mallydams, but it could help create a generation of families and youngsters in the town committed to animal welfare.

“What is a worry is that the existing funding comes to end this summer which means the project will need further sponsorship and financial support if it is to continue.”

The project teaches people to enjoy and respect wildlife

Three children exploring woodland © RSPCA‘Hastings Wild Things’ was made possible by a Big Lottery Grant and benefits some of the most deprived young people of Hastings, ranked by the Government as being in the 10 per cent most deprived local authority areas in the country.

It organises activities and games for groups of young parents and their pre-school children and hopes to inspire them through the natural world and boost their self-esteem through practical outdoor activities and education.

Our staff members spend time with the young disadvantaged groups and teach them to enjoy and respect wildlife.

Bel Deering, manager at Mallydams, said:

“It has been wonderful to watching the positive effects this project has had and we are delighted these benefits have been recognised with this award.

“Some young parents came to us from quite difficult circumstances and have really transformed in their time with us. We have seen parents and children – blooming with confidence and developing a real passion for nature.

“Many of them had not had much opportunity to get close to nature before and got so much out of exploring our woodland trails and learning about all the animals which live there.

“Projects like this can only help people and animals. Not only do these young people enjoy getting out and about in the natural environment, but they are so often inspired what they see and become committed to animal welfare as a result.”

We are only able to carry out projects like this with your help

If you would like to donate to the Wild Things project or any of our other projects please visit the RSPCA Choices site.

In particular Mallydams are in need of donations of children’s wellington boots in all sizes for the youngsters who visit the Wild Things project. Most of the disadvantaged families do not have boots of their own and need them for stomping through the woods. Anyone with any boots to spare should contact the centre on 0300 123 0750.

We can’t do it without you

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