First Hand Experiences, founded in 2014, is the creation of ex- teachers Louisa and Justin Baker. We believe deeply that children are active learners who thrive best on a nourishing diet of nature based ‘first-hand experiences’.
Our unique day and sleep away camps allow children to celebrate the natural world through outdoor exploration, natural art and crafts, original music, theatre and whole food cooking. We provide inspiring, enriching experiences that build children’s understanding and love for nature, whilst fostering their own development as confident, caring individuals.
“What unique and wonderful explorations my daughter has gone on with First Hand Experiences. It isn't just about the fun they have. The team are committed to educating the children while making them feel a part of a whole. Each kid is loved and nurtured and is made to feel part of a creative, inspirational (and quite musical!) community. I could go on. I couldn't have found a better place for my daughter to spend her summer.” - Roxana Badin
In February this year we became a Community Interest Company. This is an exciting first step towards becoming a genuine, community focused, social enterprise. This means we can be recognised for the work we already do in driving change in so many children, but also and more importantly, can, with the right funding and support, reach many more children from more diverse and less privileged backgrounds.
Our vision is to revitalise a 50 acre plot of wild flower meadows near Selling, Kent as a base for a thriving creative community, to be known as ‘Gather Green’. Gather Green will become a valued community asset; a touchstone for all who champion the importance of sustainable living, and cherish our relationship with nature and the creativity it inspires.
Securing our new meadowland base in Kent is a fantastic first step towards realising Gather Green. But to take it to the next level, and make FHE a genuine social enterprise, we require a sustainable infrastructure. We will develop a festival-inspired basecamp from which to host our activities, including school workshops and residential camps that will focus on life-skills such as growing, cooking and sustainability.
But all this requires investment, and we are seeking to raise £45k to build the first stage of development; a camp kitchen, 2 giant hat tipis, compost toilets and solar showers.
The immediate effects of this build will be transformational and and we need your help to kick off this first stage of development.
Remember our first camps will run for 4 weeks this summer and we need your support to get the facilities we need!
Military camping stove and shelter will provide an essential cooking space for our camp chefs. £1k
The craft tipi will be a place where, inspired by their adventures, children will be guided by our resident artists to create wonderful mementos of their time with us.
Combined with the growing spaces we will establish, the new camp kitchen will mean our talented natural chefs have the facilities they need to teach children how to prepare their own daily meals. £16k
6 unit shower block fed by a rainwater collection system and powered by solar panels. £5k
6 compost toilets made with local sustainable materials. £3k
Children will spend each night with us tucked up in traditional bell tents with army style camp beds. £5k
To store our facilities safely though winter and to create an office space for greeting visitors we need to convert 2 x 40ft long shipping containers. £4k
- CIC - 70% of our profits from Gather Green will go back into building the FHE community.
- Residential camps for schools in term time and sleep away camps for 7-14 year olds. 4 weeks of sleep away camps this summer from 15th July 2018 to 11th August 2018. Day option for local children too.
- Bursary places scheme for children on all camps and clubs.
- After-school and weekend Grow Make Eat clubs for local children and families.
- Day workshops for local schools.
- Long term vision of a market garden with plots to rent with studio pavilions that will be both a shop and workshop space for growers and makers.
- Development of geodesic dome with integrated hydroponic growing system for dining and gathering.