Free to Be Kids: COVID19 appeal - Thrive Inside

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Project by Mike Gee

Free to Be Kids: COVID19 appeal - Thrive Inside

Total raised £2,353

raised so far

+ est. £464.50 Gift Aid



Our respite projects for London’s most vulnerable children are cancelled due to Covid19. We’re raising funds to support them at home instead

We're still collecting donations

On the 7th May 2020 we'd raised £2,283 with 38 supporters in 41 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

We don't know how long this crisis will continue for, but our children deserve support throughout the time they are stuck inside. If we need to support them for 12 weeks, we estimate it costing around £3600. If social distancing measures continue over the summer, we'll need around £6000 to help the children get through what will be an extraordinarily tough summer holiday period. 

If restrictions are eased in time for our residentials to run in July and August as planned, we will use any excess money raised to give these children an amazing week of outdoor adventures, new activities and opportunities to play after all the time they will have spent stuck inside.

In summary:

We’re raising funds to cover the cost of providing remote support to our most vulnerable children, during the time their schools are closed due the current coronavirus crisis. Our Easter Thrive Outside projects have been cancelled due to the pandemic, so our volunteers have come together to launch Thrive Inside - making sure the children still get the support they need.

These aren’t children whose families have the resources for extra educational resources. Many are living in overcrowded houses in poor states of repair. They frequently act as Young Carers, or have parents who are struggling to cope - perhaps due to mental or physical health challenges, substance abuse issues, or just as the result of balancing the needs of multiple young children as a single parent in a high rise flat. Many are trying their best in very difficult circumstances. We want to do what we can to help. We’re organising our existing volunteers to spend time with these children in other ways. From offering catch up tuition with Maths and English, support with school projects, keeping imaginations active with arts & craft projects, science experiments you can do at home, and much more. The aim is to be alongside the children who need a supportive adult in their lives, whilst providing some vital respite to parents in need of it, just as our residentials aim to do. But doing it remotely. We need funds for resources; books; science kits; staff/volunteer support costs; postage, and more.

Any funds raised above our target will contribute towards providing much needed nature based residential breaks for these children, once Public Health England advice allows us to do so safely.

About Free to Be:

Free to Be Kids supports particularly disadvantaged children from London to change their stories about who they are, and who they can be. Through nature based respite projects we help children used to feeling rejected, marginalised, or somehow different, to instead more often experience feeling brave, adventurous, proud, and successful – often for the first time in a long time.

We do this by taking children out of London and into the countryside. Using adventures, time with animals, and the breathing space the natural world affords, to help build depleted self-confidence, draw out often hidden strengths, and help children who often struggle in other settings to instead experience achieving beyond their own expectations. Children who have never before left their area of London see the sea for the first time, go for night walks through the woods, work in teams to paddle across lakes, cook together in groups, and experience camping out under the stars. We help these children to broaden their horizons by seeing more of the world, and use our time living alongside them on the projects to deepen their sense of who they are, and how much potential they really do have.

This Easter, we’ve had no choice but to postpone all of our residential projects, and London based mentoring sessions. 67 children have had their residential places postponed. 12 children have had their in-person mentoring sessions put on hold.

Despite the best efforts of schools, many of these children will now be particularly isolated. This appeal is designed to support us to do what we can to help.



What will support look like? 

Each online connection will look different and will be flexible depending on the interests and needs of each young person. Some volunteers may be speaking to their young person once a week whilst others may be every couple of days. The activities they take part in will be a range of online tutoring, online mentoring, arts activities, online games and weekly competitions. The service is for children Free to Be has existing supportive relationships with and will be carried out by our existing volunteer pool who have already undergone safeguarding checks and have appropriate training. 

What will the money be used for? 

The money will go towards the costs of running this service as well as covering any expenses involved with the activities: costs of art supplies, games, care packages and postage for anything being sent to homes. Any surplus funds will go towards our future projects providing respite to these same children. Whilst we are in discussion with existing grant funders who are being very flexible, if we were to spend that money on this support service, it would mean we no longer had enough to fund the holiday places when outbreak restrictions lift. These children both need support now, yet still deserve to have their holiday (for a third of them, it was to be their first ever holiday) once conditions make this possible.

Can I volunteer to help? Or send books, games etc?

Due to our safeguarding policies, this support needs to be carried out by volunteers known to the families or who are already part of Free to Be, and who have already undergone our safer recruitment procedures. If you would like to volunteer to help on a future residential project once restrictions are lifted (whether this summer, or later) please complete an application form via this webpage: We will respond as soon as we are able, but are currently prioritising setting up the remote support service.

As we are working from home with our office closed, we can’t accept gifts of books or other items at this point, though this may change in future. Instead we will need to send any books direct to children through online delivery services, or use e-book versions.

Can I help in another way?

If you've got a great idea of how to fundraise, we'd love to hear it! Whilst stuck inside, why not set yourself a challenge like a sponsored silence, climb a mountain on your staircase or go for a world record for number of toilet roll keepy-uppies and become a fundraiser for us. To create your fundraising page click the blue ‘start fundraising button’ and then share your page with your friends and family.

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see Crowdfunder's Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.

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This project offered rewards

£250 or more

£250 or more

Pledge £250 today and we'll reward you with the honour of choosing the theme for our Summer 2021 projects. Disclaimer: the theme must be appropriate for our projects. PLEDGE NOW> CLAIM LATER

£10 or more

£10 Donation

You'll experience a sense of inner warmth and calm from doing a good thing in a time of crisis.

£25 or more

£25 or more

Pledge £25 today and we'll send you a lovely photo of a kitten to cheer up your day. To receive your kitten photo send an email to [email protected]

£50 or more

£50 or more

Pledge £50 today and we'll reward you with a postcard from the children whose holiday you made possible when the next residential happens. Email [email protected] with your address to receive PLEDGE NOW> CLAIM LATER

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