First Hand Experiences

by Justin Baker in Faversham, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 18th June 2018 we successfully raised £21,480 with 79 supporters in 35 days

Help raise crucial funds to create a meadowland basecamp for our unique, nature inspired children’s holiday camps.

by Justin Baker in Faversham, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We did it and genuinely beyond our wildest dreams! Thank you!! 

As amazing as the support for this campaign has been, making sure that people more people  know about first hand experiences’ mission to reconnect children, is an ongoing challenge. 

In order for us to get more children from all backgrounds on our camps  we want to go to schools and run FREE  day long workshops with every class with a focus on bringing nature to the school using our whole food and inspiring children with our exciting approach.

With themes anchored in the seasons we will..

  • Teach  them how to make their own sugar free snack using organic ingredients such as chocolate and beetroot truffles or coco, seeded flap jacks.
  • Kids love making juices and we believe starting the day with an intense hit of fresh, chemical free fruit and veg concoction, should be part of kids breakfast routine.
  • Teach children how to prepare teeny crostini with ingredients like nettle, mint and pea pesto in spring or smashed bean and rosemary in winter.
  • In summer we will make sure every child can come home from school on a hot day and make fresh minty lemonade! We’ve done this at fetes and it’s so popular!!


As with any of our ambitious programmes the challenge is making sure we have the correct infrastructure for our team (Louisa and Justin themselves will run these) to deliver it in a sustainable way which at the moment, when we do the odd event, it isn’t.

  • 5k  - This would buy a small 2nd hand caravan that would act as storage for all our workshop resources and warmth during winter.  I keep this green we aim to pull it with our hybrid car . We also plan to fit  2 solar panels on the roof so that even when we are at a school we can run our juicers and blenders off the grid.
  • 2k - Good quality canvas branded awning and signage so we can look the part  while delivering these activities and be sheltered from the elements.
  • 5k - This would pay the costs of our resources such as ingredients  as we aim to deliver these FREE first hand experiences workshops in  the 50 closest schools to Gather Green (in 2018-19 school year!)

We have always felt that if school heads, children and parents get to see what a brilliant approach to nature connection we have then they will all want to come to Gather Green themselves to get the full experience!

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.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£10 or more

A Huge Thank You!

A recorded, spoken word poetry show of appreciation written by children on camp inspired by their experiences that you helped create!

£15 or more

A Personalised Postcard from Camp!

A huge thank you for believing in our project with a written and illustrated postcard by a child on camp.

£20 or more

First Hand Experiences T-Shirt

A First Hand Experiences t-shirt made from 100% recycled plastic with an original etched logo design by Sylvia Moritz. Available in all sizes both adults and children.

£55 or more

15 of 50 claimed

A Day on Camp and AND a Really Cool T-Shirt!

Give a child a taste of First Hand Experiences' camps on one of our day camps either at Gather Green, Kent or at our London venue. We are also giving the first 50 backers a free First Hand Experiences t-shirt for a child. London day camps are for children 3-11 years and Kent day camps are for 6-11 year olds. This can be redeemed in summer or autumn 2018.

£75 or more

First Hand Experiences Exclusive Etching Print

Original First Hand Experiences limited edition print displaying 100s of individual etchings illustrated by graphic designer Sylvia Moritz inspired by her time on our camps. Printed A3 on recycled pulp and ready to look the part in any room of the house.

£120 or more

8 of 20 claimed

5 half day, day camp sessions in London

Get 5 half day sessions for your child aged 3-5 on our Palace Pioneers programme based at Fulham Palace. Lots of outdoor adventure, cooking, craft, music and drama! 8.30-12.30 or 12.30-4.30 sessions available.

£240 or more

3 of 10 claimed

A Week's Day-Camp for Your Child!

This is a great way for your child to get a taste of Gather Green with a Mon-Fri day camp. (8.30am-5.30pm) Children aged 6-10 & 11-14 will spend the morning foraging and cooking a delicious vegan lunch with our natural chefs. The afternoons full of outdoor adventure followed by nature inspired art, craft and spoken word. There's plenty of free time in the woods, meadow and child-built geodesic domes. Lunch and snacks included in the price.

£250 or more

Gather Green Open Day & Lunch for You & F

An invitation to a Gather Green open day to see the impact of your support. Share a lunch prepared by the children on camp and have a grand tour of the wonderful sustainable infrastructure by one of our camp Dynamos. Finish the day around the campfire with a hot chocolate.

£280 or more

4 of 15 claimed

3 Night Sleep Away Camp for your Child

Get this camp at 20% off the usual price! Your child can experience true, off-grid living in style on our unique holiday camp where children prepare their own meals, adventure in the woods, build and craft and eat delicious whole food around the campfire. The overnight camp runs from Sunday morning -Wednesday evening. Please see the link below for more details.Find out more about the camp here

£440 or more

5 of 15 claimed

6 Night Sleep Away Camp for Your Child

Get this camp at 20% off the usual price! On this camp your child can experience true, off-grid living in style on our unique holiday camp where children prepare their own meals, adventure in the woods, build and craft and eat delicious whole food around the campfire. The overnight camp runs from Sunday to Saturday. Please see the link below for more details.

£650 or more

Sponsor a Child on our Bursary Place Scheme

Sponsor a disadvantaged child on a week long sleep-away camp this summer and get an invitation to the end of week show to meet one of the children whose life changing experiences you made happen.

£1,000 or more

Workshop for a School Class at Gather Green

Are you a school looking for the the perfect way to start the new year? Bring one of your classes for a day at Gather Green to take part in our wonderful array of first hand experiences. From cooking their own locally sourced vegan dishes to exploring the woods, nature inspired arts, music, yoga and spoken word poetry. Finish the day with a campfire and have our in house photographer capture your memories to share with parents.

£1,500 or more

Your Name Engraved

An engraved thank you on our handmade welcome to Gather Green sign that will stand proudly at our entrance to the basecamp.

£260 or more

20 of 20 claimed

Day Camp for Your Child in London

Our camps are based at the lovely green space that is Fulham Palace. Palace Pioneers (3-5yrs) Kids take their first steps into sustainable living with integrated gardening and cooking sessions, nature craft, original music, yoga and forest school play. The Wild Explorers (6-11 yrs) is more of the same with 2 off site trips p/w. Children make their own vegan lunches and finish the wk with a musical show for parents! SW6 6EA (Mon-Fri & 8.30-4.30)

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