The Hastings Wild Things project run by RSPCA Mallydams Wood Education Centre has won the ‘Play Award’ at a prestigious award ceremony for professionals who work with children and young people.

Teenagers in aerial net in woods

The project beat off competition from  community projects from all over the country.

Children and Young People Now Awards are run by the magazine of the same name which is the ‘only dedicated magazine for professionals working with children, young people and families’.

Karen Branagh, from our fundraising department, said:

“I want to say a huge congratulations to the team at RSPCA Mallydams Wood for this fabulous project.


“These awards have become the gold standard for everyone in the UK working with children – the Hastings Wild Things project is a pioneering scheme that uses wildlife and the natural environment to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people.”

Small children peering from a bird hide in woods

The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, spoke about his passion for play:

“I think what you do is incredibly important, in fact I would say it is more important than everything else.


“We know our children and young people are growing up in a world that is infinitely more complex than ever before and there isn’t anyone in this room who has an easy job.


“Congratulations – thank you for everything you are doing.”

The award judges included Maggie Atkinson, the children’s commissioner for England, Srabani Sen, chief executive of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, and Howard Williamson, Professor of European youth policy, University of South Wales.

In April 2013, RSPCA Mallydams Wood were awarded the SPARK junior Environmental Achievement Award. SPARK – a network for young people’s organisations in East Sussex – subsequently supported RSPCA Mallydams Wood’s application for the national CYP Now award. For more information about SPARK and how they help children’s and young people’s groups please visit their website.

Lottery funding for the first three years of the project has come to an end and we are looking for funding to expand and develop this groundbreaking project over the course of the next five years.

We can’t do it without you

We can only continue to fund projects like this with the generous support of the public.

You can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).