Happiness Outdoors Project

by Jen Amesbury in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Happiness Outdoors Project

Total raised £1,435

£1,500 target 21 days left
95% 50 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th August 2024 at 6:00am

The Happiness Outdoors Project (HOP) boosts children's emotional well-being and connection with nature through outdoor enrichment sessions.

by Jen Amesbury in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

HOP makes your children HAPPY! 

Three quarters of the children at Ladysmith Junior School have taken part in the Happiness Outdoors Project (HOP). And they love it!  


They want to have more sessions!  

Our dream is for every child to have a turn.  


According to research*, 83% of children are unable to identify a bumblebee, more than half can't identify stinging nettles and one in four don’t know what a badger or a robin looks like.  

Other research** has estimated that an alarming 1 in 5 children are likely to have a mental health problem.  

HOP started as a way of helping change these things. The aim was to get more children reconnected with nature which can boost self-esteem and happiness whilst learning about the importance of caring for the environment.   


What is HOP? 

It is an enrichment programme which gets the kids outside building dens, cooking over fires, nurturing plants, composting, building with wood, planting trees, juicing apples and much more!  

Taking part in these activities helps children learn how to; 

  • conserve resources by using and repurposing recycled materials, saving seed etc.
  • improve soil health by composting, mulching and lasagna layering
  • protect biodiversity by planting native plants as food and habitats for local wildlife

These sustainable practices play a crucial role in combatting climate change; slowing global warming by reducing carbon emissions and capturing carbon in soil and plants.


The activities are carefully planned to help the children learn essential life skills like resilience, co-operation and self-regulation which build positive emotions and help them be more able to cope with change, adversity and uncomfortable feelings. Working together on projects builds confidence, fosters creativity and helps children feel positive about themselves and school. 


In the relaxed, informal areas of the allotment garden and forest school with skilled facilitators, the children have the space and opportunity to share thoughts, worries and feelings. 

With freedom and support, the children have a lot of fun and feel a growing sense of pride and responsibility for their environment. 

HOP has been running for just over a year and 96% of children that have taken part feel happy after being outside! 


What children have said about HOP: 

‘I come back to the classroom happy.’ 

‘I feel refreshed and relaxed.’ 

‘It helps me get rid of my anger.’ 

‘I’m more confident.’ 

‘I feel much more ‘gooder’ than I’ve ever been.’ 

‘It helps people understand the meaning of nature and how important it can be for your human body.’  


 What parents think: 

‘At home after HOP, my daughter is much more centered and has this sense of calm.’ 

‘HOP is a great remedy to the pressures of the classroom.’ 

‘Having a programme like this is priceless, absolutely priceless.’ 

‘On the days my daughter was involved in HOP, she came home buzzing. She had been outside, she had been creative, she was grounded, regulated and content.’ 

‘HOP gives my daughter the opportunity to feel great about herself in her favourite place.’ 


Parents comment that after HOP sessions, their children feel: 

Overjoyed. Buoyant. Energised. Inspired. Excited. Incredibly positive. Happy.  


Their children’s behaviour has changed: 

More confident. Less resistant to go to school in the morning. Calmer. More content. Better able to regulate emotions. More positive. Enthusiastic to learn. 


How can you help? 

We are Crowdfunding to enable us to continue with our weekly sessions and to purchase things such as: 

  • Composting bins 
  • Rope and netting 
  • Whittling knife 
  • Forest craft materials 
  • Secateurs 
  • Rakes 
  • Minibeast identification guide 
  • Zip wire pulleys 
  • Seeds 
  • Wildlife camera trap 
  • Compost 
  • Lockable tool box


If we can raise even more, the extra funds will enable us to run more HOP sessions so that we can reach more children and provide them with the opportunity to boost their emotional well-being through connecting with nature. 


*Research commissioned by family activity app Hoop and carried out by Pickersgill Consultancy and Planning (PCP).

**NHS England, Mental Health of Children and Young People in England (2023)


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

£5 reward

You will receive a fabulous feeling from having helped support a wonderful project and have your name on a supporter’s leaf added to the supporter’s tree.

£10 or more

£10 reward

A wooden medallion to personalise yourself!

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A natural craft kit for example, wreath-making or spring bumblebee.

£40 or more

£40 Reward

An invitation to a seasonal produce tasting e.g. apple-juice or grape-tasting.

£50 or more

£50 reward

Thank you for donating without requesting anything in return. We will do amazing work with this contribution. You will receive our very special Gratitude Certificate.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

In your name, we will plant a tree on the school grounds.

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected