We are Tom and Corinna Seaton and we have set up Camp Hillcrest, a unique centre on the edge of the Forest of Dean in the amazing Wye Valley. We believe in providing a space for children, young people and families to engage with nature through fun, creativity and youth culture.
What is our aim?
We have created a space in the heart of the woods that will host a mix of fun and educational activities that has never been combined in the UK before. We are building a traditional straw bale activity barn that will include an indoor skate park, art space, space for graffiti workshops, climbing wall, all weather space for our forest school, wood work, music lessons and performances all amongst the calming influence of the Forest of Dean.
Some great cultures have grown out of urbanisation, such as street art and skateboarding, but it has also left a void where people are losing a connection with nature.
We are here to re-engage people with their natural environment by combining urban and contemporary culture with traditional rural crafts. So we use spray-can art to consolidate on lessons in tree identification and skateboard shaping workshops to teach carpentry.
For the last four years we have run residential camps for groups of teenagers from London, Bristol and the local area doing a range of engaging educational activities that encourage people to explore and learn. At camp we do; forest school, bush craft, canoeing, climbing, wood craft, skateboarding, skateboard shaping, skate ramp building, spray can art, carpentry, tree identification, campfire cooking, green wood working, tool making and round house building.
These types of activities can spark new life long interests in people that can provide a positive guiding force in young people’s lives, through shared passions people often bond and form friendships. Hillcrest also gives people the chance to simply relax in the countryside, with hot tubs, a camp fire and beautiful walks in the local AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty), and accommodation in the Hillcrest bunkhouse.
Who we are:
Tom Seaton is a secondary school art teacher, qualified skateboard instructor, plays trombone in a band and is a Level 3 forest school leader. Corinna Seaton is qualified in sign language, works as a communication support worker in a school for deaf children, plays oboe in a band and is also a Level 3 forest school leader.
We are lucky to have a dedicated team of skilled individuals involved with the project including teachers and forest school leaders, professional skate-park builders, skateboarders, carpenters, climbers, artists and musicians. We have a number of volunteers working on this project learning new skills and helping to create something for themselves and the local community.
We also have two goats Rachel and Storm, a dog called Steve and a flock of free range chickens.
Supporting lasting community benefit
We provide an art space that can be used by local people helping to inspire young artists in the area. Hillcrest is proud to be partnering with Wye Valley arts centre helping young people get into and stay involved in art.
All of the facilities at camp will be available for hire by local schools and kids clubs in the local area. Gloucestershire Young Carers have expressed an interest in using Hillcrest (see testimonials). The barn will provide an all-weather soundproofed skateboard facility, climbing wall and activity space for local young people.
Corinna is BSL (British Sign Language) trained to NVQ level 3. Hillcrest has partnered with Elmfield School for the Deaf and other similar institutions.
Due to the sound proof nature of the building it will be an ideal practice space for local musicians and bands. Hillcrest will also help provide much needed employment in the local area and help boost local tourism.
What's the money for?
Here’s a brief breakdown costs needed to be covered on top of our current budget.
• Office Administration £400
• Staff administration and project cost salaries £1,600
• Professional fees - Project Management, Design and Structural Engineering fees £1,500
• Local authority fees – Building control £600
• Volunteer Accommodation costs £2,500
• Labour Costs £4,200
• Ground Works and foundation strip £2,000
• Barn and Structural remediation costs £4,400
• Skateboard park bowl £4,600
• Straw Bale wall Construction and building envelope £6,200
• Climbing Wall materials£2,000
Ok, I'm in. What do I need to do?
Firstly, pledge to our campaign and select a reward!
Like us on Facebook.
Post a link to our campaign on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Tweet a link to our campaign on Twitter.
Check out our website www.camphillcrest.co.uk
Tell your Grandma, neighbours and all your friends about Camp Hillcrest.
“I brought a group of year 12/13 students to Camp Hillcrest for three days of team building and outward bound activities. We had a mixed ability group, and the activities were tailored to meet their needs and personalities. The highlights of the trip were stories and songs around the camp fire, forest folklore walks, graffiti spray-painting sessions and the general relaxed and nurturing atmosphere of the farm.”
Ruth Marx, Religious Studies teacher. Cambridge Heath Sixth Form, Morpeth School, Tower Hamlets London.
"I brought a group of year eleven students to Hillcrest for an end of school reward. There was a wide range of interesting activities on offer, all of my students had an amazing time and I shall be bringing back more groups in the future. It was also really helpful that Corinna was able to communicate effectively in BSL (British Sign Language)."
Michael Dennington. Assistant head teacher at Elmfield School for the Deaf.
“As both a neighbour and in my professional capacity as Development manager for Gloucestershire Young carers, I welcome and fully support your proposal. The closure of similar activity centres such as The Wilderness combined with significantly reduced youth services mean that accessing out of school social and educational opportunities are now very limited. I am particularly impressed by your sample programme which offers unique and interesting range of traditional/contemporary; urban/rural; indoor/outdoor and educational activities that also look fun and that can be adapted to suit individual needs. Your premises offer an ideal setting to enable young people to enjoy explore and learn. You have clearly given considerable thought to sensitive issues such as traffic and minimisation and it is great that you have consulted and gained the support of those living in proximity to Hillcrest. At Gloucester young carers, we support 650 young people, 120 of whom live in the Forest of Dean. A key part of our support involves offering both respite and therapeutic day and residential opportunities for Young Carers to step away from their caring roles, to enjoy being children and to be encouraged to express their feelings and worries in a safe environment. I have discussed your proposals with our management team and we would be extremely interested in the possibility of using the Hillcrest centre as part of our programme.”
Claire, Gloucestershire Young Carers
"For my 30th birthday I was lucky enough to have the use of Tom and Corinnas venue in a beautiful location on a hill in Forest of Dean. we had a bunch of about 30 of us and had a great gathering of friends under the stars. Tom and corinna made every effort to make it work and it was a great experience. Many thanks to them both!"
Pip Janson, Arcadia
“We came to Camp Hillcrest for my son’s birthday, his favourite food is pizza so we used their wood fired pizza oven to make fresh pizzas and we ate them by the camp fire.”
Caroline Goggin, accountant and mother from Somerset.
“I visited with a group of my friends and all our kids. We had a really fun weekend and did some brilliant activities with Tom and Corinna. The kids really liked the dorms and roasting marshmallows on the camp fire. They have a lovely outdoor space with Nets and a hot tub.”
Jenny Chew, Mother from Gloucester.
Camp Hillcrest T-shirts
We have two designs to choose from featuring original artwork from our talented resident designer and skate park builder Enrico. Order one today in rewards section. S, M & L available.