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Children’s Activities Week

Don’t miss Children’s Activities Week which will run from April 30 – May 4 2018!

This is a NEW national event celebrating all the positive benefits that clubs, classes and activities bring to the lives of children and families across the UK – helping kids stay healthy, fit and happy!

Throughout the week hundreds of thousands of children will be dressing up for their favourite activity around the theme ‘#WatchMeFly’. There’ll be amazing competitions, VIP visitors to clubs and classes, a world record attempt with Sid Sloane from CBeebies and so much more – all raising vital funds for Caudwell Children and the Children’s Activities Association. For more on the week, to learn how YOU can be involved and to see the fantastic celebrity and sporting Ambassadors already signed up visit


Go Wild With Your Tots For Less!

Surrey Wildlife Trust is celebrating a £3,000 windfall from The Southern Co-op, which means families can enjoy cut-price ‘Wild Tots’ outdoor play sessions this season.

 Wild Tots provides a wonderful opportunity for children aged 2-6 and their parents to experience and learn from nature by exploring and playing in the outdoors. The popular sessions will be held every Thursday and Friday morning throughout February and March.

The usual price is £10 per child – but thanks to The Southern Co-op’s donation, sessions are now only £5 for two hours of wild fun or just £4 for members of the Trust. Sessions include arts and crafts, games, stories, exploration, mud kitchens, minibeast hunting and so much more!

“This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage young children to have some weekly fun – exploring, learning and playing in the woods, in a Forest School inspired adventure,” said Laura Stone, from the Trust’s Outdoor Learning Team.

“The sessions are designed to engage children with wildlife and to promote independent learning. We aim to boost creativity, confidence, communication skills and physical development and above all we have fantastic fun in the outdoors!”

A recent study* carried out by researchers at the University of Derby found that just one session spent getting closer to nature can help families to improve their skills and knowledge about playing outdoors with their families. Spending time outside was also shown to increase people’s sense of connection to nature and proved beneficial for health and wellbeing in both adults and children.

The Wild Tots donation by The Southern Co-op is part of the ‘My Wild Neighbourhood’ campaign, working with Wildlife Trusts in the southern region to encourage families to get outside and explore the wild in their neighbourhoods. The initiative is supported by proceeds from the carrier bag levy collected by The Southern Co-op, distributed through their ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ programme.

The Trust hopes the subsidised Wild Tots dates will make the sessions accessible to even more families in Surrey. They will be running every Thursday from 10am-12noon at the Trust’s Nower Wood educational nature reserve near Leatherhead and every Friday from 10am-12noon at Newlands Corner near Guildford, throughout February and March.

Wild Tots forms part of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s mission to inspire and educate people of all ages about nature. Up to 15,000 children and young people benefit every year from its wide range of outdoor learning courses and events. For more information or to book a place for your child, visit

Wanted – Weekend Wildlife Warriors!

Are you looking for something wild to do this weekend – then why not volunteer with Surrey Wildlife Trust? As well as having fun in the fresh air, you can get fit, make new friends, learn new skills and it’s FREE!

The Trust has nearly 100 staff, but its ranks are swelled by an army of almost 2,000 registered volunteers, who provide around 8,000 extra ‘people days’ every year. And now the Trust is on the look-out for new weekend recruits to join its conservation squad.

“Our enthusiastic practical conservation volunteers help us clear areas of scrub, coppice woodlands, remove invasive plant species, create patches of bare ground for habitat improvement and lots more,” said Claire Courtier, the Trust’s Volunteer Development Manager.

“From teenagers to people in their 80s, all give up their time, skills and energy to help wildlife – but they get so much in return too. You can get fit, make friends from all walks of life, learn so much about wildlife and it’s fantastic fun in the fresh air!”

The Trust runs weekend volunteer conservation groups throughout autumn and winter, on sites right across the county – from scrub clearance on Wisley Common, to coppicing at Newdigate Brickworks, to path clearance on Chobham Common or grass cutting at Fraser Down.

Volunteers have been at the heart of some great success stories for wildlife in Surrey – helping restore vital habitat on Chobham Common, which now boasts a promising breeding population of nightjars and Dartford warblers. In the rivers, volunteers have been working on the Wey and Mole to improve habitats for fish and reduce pollutants. And dozens of volunteers have signed up to become Hedgerow Heroes, to help survey and restore Surrey’s network of hedges.

Jeanette Cattermole from Guildford has been volunteering with the Trust for almost ten years – helping its education teams with school groups, lending a hand in the office and getting stuck into conservation work.

“I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors and I love the countryside, so volunteering for the Trust is perfect for me,” she said. “It’s given me so many opportunities to stretch myself and learn something new. It’s great fun, you make friends, have fun round the bonfire – the camaraderie is just great and I’m so thrilled to be making a difference to wildlife and the environment.”

Research* shows that people who donate their time to a good cause show lower rates of depression later in life, while a study# found that contact with nature makes us happier and healthier. And regular exercise in the fresh air is a lot cheaper than joining a gym!

“We simply couldn’t manage without our wonderful volunteers – they make a massive difference to the work we’re able to carry out to help wildlife in Surrey,” said Claire.

“Whether you’re a student wanting work experience or working fulltime and looking for a weekend outdoors, we’d love to see some new faces. You can commit to as little or as much time as you like and you could gain so much from working with us – you never know, it might just lead to a new career!”

If you would like to help protect Surrey’s wildlife as a weekend wildlife volunteer, visit and sign up for your wild weekend.

Into The Trees Family Festival

Into The Trees is a fascinating journey which takes you into the amazing world of trees, woods andforests and will open your eyes to the ways in which we can play, work, learn and explore amongst theirleaves, branches and trunks. Taking place in the heart of one of the south of England’s most amazinglandscapes, Into The Trees offers the rare chance to explore and enjoy protected ancient woodland inthe Ashdown Forest and brings experts from the world of wood to demonstrate and inspire guests of allages.

A weekend of discovery and relaxation – explore the magical protected woodland of Pippingford Parkwith family and friends. Come for the day or camp all weekend in this unique designated area ofoutstanding natural beauty. The perfect opportunity for adults to relax enjoying delicious local food anddrink while kids run free. Rope swings, mountain boarding, bushcraft and tree climbing surroundhands-on demonstrations from wildlife experts and skilled Sussex craftspeople.

Visit the website for more info on activities, camping and glamping.

Into The Trees 14 / 15 / 16th September 2018 Pippingford Park, Nutley, Uckfield, Sussex TN22 3HW

Weeknd and day tickets on sale now

More information: Facebook / Twitter



Local teacher in the running to be named one of ‘Britain’s Classroom Heroes 2017
  • Mrs Hayley Townsend of St Pauls Catholic School in Thames Ditton, Surrey, is to attend the prestigious UK grand finale of the Pearson Teaching Awards
  • Nomination follows the acceptance of a Silver Teaching Award earlier this year for her exceptional contribution to the teaching profession

On Sunday 22nd October, Hayley will attend a glittering awards ceremony at The East Wintergarden, London, where she will find out if she has won a prestigious Gold Plato Award.  Hayley was nominated for the accolade by pupils, parents and colleagues in the St Pauls Catholic School community.

The ceremony, hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty with Countryfile’s Sean Fletcher, will be broadcast on BBC TWO at 6pm on 29th October, as “Britain’s Classroom Heroes”, and is an annual event that celebrates the very best of the UK’s teaching profession. Eleven Gold Plato awards will be presented across categories such as Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School, Excellence in Special Needs Education and Lifetime Achievement.

In June this year, Hayley was recognised for her exceptional contribution to the teaching profession as one of just 56 Silver Teaching Award winners in the UK, winning her award in the category The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School.

Hayley started her teaching career in 1992, and joined St Paul’s in 2014, firstly on a part time basis and then as a full-time class teacher. She successfully combines being a mother of 4 children and an outstanding class room teacher. Hayley’s students adore her. More importantly they trust her and this has allowed Hayley to ask them to perform their very best. Their parents know that there is something magical unfolding and they are only too eager support the efforts within class. What sets Hayley apart is her desire to keep learning. Thus, when new initiatives are being trialled she is at the front of the line looking to participate. The progress that her children make is strong and this is because Hayley constructs lessons and learning opportunities specifically for the needs of her children.

The Pearson Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers and teaching. Founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam, they recognise the life-changing impact of an inspirational teacher on the lives of the young people they teach.

Michael Morpurgo, Children’s Author and President of the Pearson’s Teaching Awards said: “Teachers are the quiet heroes. By telling their stories, by highlighting their skill and dedication, we can do some justice to them and to the whole profession. Through the Teaching Awards, we hope to enhance the reputation and value of the teachers in our lives, their importance in our society, and thus help to encourage the most talented and committed young people to become teachers.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “Great teaching improves the life chances of our children. It’s an incredibly tough, pressured and wearing job. Teachers deserve all the support we can give them, now more than ever. That’s why these Pearson teaching awards are important, and that’s why I’m delighted once again to lend our support to giving teaching the recognition it deserves.”

Parents and students alike can recognise and thank the teachers who are making a difference by visiting to thank a teacher. Doing so means they will be in with a chance of winning at next year’s ceremony.

For more information please contact:

Mary Palmer at the Pearson Teaching Awards

M 07976 124 929

Your moment to believe – take part in Santa Skywalk!

 Leading children’s hospice charity, Shooting Star Chase, want you to channel your inner Santa and Ho, Ho, Ho through the trees with our new festive challenge Santa Skywalk to help raise vital funds for sick children and their families.

The brand new event takes place at Skywalk Adventure, Esher on Saturday 2nd December, where participants shall don a Santa suit and take to the trees to complete an exciting obstacle course with a difference! The whole family can take part, with each participant receiving a Santa Suit, certificate of completion and a Christmas stocking goodie bag.

Shooting Star Chase hope to raise £12,000 from this exhilarating event to help make every moment count for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

Kate Law, Challenge Events Fundraiser at Shooting Star Chase, organises the Santa Skywalk and said:
“We’re so excited to hold our first ever Santa Skywalk and hope everyone will channel their inner Santa’s and come join us to zip through the trees. It’s something the whole family can take part in and is a great fun festive way to help raise vital funds to help families at a time of year where family is so important.”

Registration is £20 which includes your Santa suit and a Christmas stocking goodie bag and those who reach their fundraising target by 24th November will be entered into a free prize draw to win a Festive Family Hamper!

To find out more about Shooting Star Chase’s Santa Skywalk and to sign up visit or contact via email on or call 01932 823100.


Remember, Remember to Help Hedgehogs this November!

With fireworks night on the horizon, Surrey Wildlife Trust is appealing to all bonfire builders to think about hibernating hedgehogs when constructing and lighting their wood piles. Unfortunately bonfire night coincides with the season when small mammals are looking for cosy places to hide, which can be disastrous.

“A stack of dry wood and leaves piled up for a bonfire might look to a hedgehog like the perfect place to overwinter and sadly we fear many animals do perish in fires every year,” said Dawn Fielding, the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer.

“Gardeners love these adorable prickly creatures, as they eat bugs and slugs and are great for natural pest control. But hedgehogs are undergoing an unprecedented decline, with some experts recently warning of possible extinction within ten years! So it’s vitally important we all do what we can to protect them.”

The Trust wants bonfire night to be a safe night for all concerned – but especially hedgehogs. So it’s put together these top tips to help protect these prickly visitors:

  • Consider piling material near the site of your fire and building your bonfire just before lighting. This will give small creatures less chance to move in.
  • Check your bonfire carefully before setting it on fire and remove any small inhabitants – rehome in a safe area away from dogs or cats, such as under a hedge or large bush and well away from your bonfire.
  • If you do have to build your bonfire beforehand, consider constructing a fence around it made of chicken wire, to help deter any mammals looking for a cosy home.

Hedgehogs were voted as the UK’s national species in 2013 but since the 1950s their numbers have seen a startling 95% decline. They’re disappearing from our landscape as fast as tigers are worldwide and there are thought to be fewer than a million left in the UK.

The declining quality of hedgerows, over-management of parks and the loss of gardens to paving and decking have been partly to blame for the hedgehog’s decline. The increased use of chemicals in gardening and farming means there are fewer insects, slugs and snails for hedgehogs to eat.

Surrey Wildlife Trust is working to improve habitats for hedgehogs and trying to raise awareness of their plight. It’s launched a new ‘Adopt A Hedgehog’ pack to help support conservation work, which includes an adorable cuddly toy hedgehog, official adoption certificate and a fact sheet for £25.

The Trust has also set up a Hedgehog Hotspots campaign to survey numbers of hedgehogs in the county. Animal lovers are asked to keep an eye out for the prickly mammals and report their findings on the Trust’s website, which is hosting a map of recent sightings.

Adult hedgehogs travel up to two kilometres a night hunting for food and they need to be able to move between gardens and green spaces.  You can help them by cutting a hedgehog-sized hole in your garden fence.  Or why not build your own hedgehog house out of a wooden box or pile of logs or sticks with some warm dry straw or leaves inside?

The Trust is also working to conserve and create habitat for hedgehogs with its new ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ citizen science project. Volunteers are needed to help survey, monitor and conserve hedgerows and plant new ones. Why not help hedgehogs where you live by signing up as a volunteer?

For more information about all the Trust’s work to help hedgehogs, including Hedgehog Adoptions, Hedgerow Heroes and Hedgehog Hotspots, visit

Cobham-based Dib Dab Art Club gets a Twitter Boost from Theo Paphitis

A Cobham-based firm has received a business boost from Retail Entrepreneur Theo Paphitis. Last week, Jo Mitchell Long, founder of Dib Dab Art Club, tweeted Theo about her business during ‘Small Business Sunday’ and was one of six weekly winners to gain a retweet by Theo to his 500,000 Twitter followers. The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, now has over 2000 #SBS winners and supports small businesses in the UK.
Business and retail entrepreneur and self-confessed Shopkeeper, Theo re-tweeted Dib Dab Art Clubs message to his almost 500,000 followers and as a result, has received many new enquiries and enrolments for their art clubs. They are also profiled on the #SBS website ( that is exclusive to all Small Business Sunday winners.
Jo Mitchell Long said, “We were delighted but in total shock! It means so much to win a business award from one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the UK. We work very hard to keep Dib Dab a hugely creative, inspiring, fresh and fun experience for all local children from 8 months to
10 years and we can’t thank Theo enough for choosing us!”
“We are now very excited for the next stage in the Dib Dab journey and are keen to spread the Dib Dab bug far and wide”!

Parents and schools sign up for global movement to learn outdoors

Up to half a million children to learn outside on Outdoor Classroom Day on May 18th 2017

 School children across the UK will join thousands of other schools all over the world to celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day- a global initiative that encourages teachers to take lessons outside.

Outdoor Classroom Day will be celebrated across the world in as many as 52 countries on May 18th 2017, with the aim of getting over half a million children learning and playing outside of their classroom.

The initiative is being led globally by Project Dirt with the help of the charity Learning through Landscapes, that will lead the campaign in the UK & ROI.

If you’re a parent, you can sign up – and communicate the importance of outdoor learning directly to your child’s school with downloadable letters and posters and tips on how to support them. This year’s campaign aims to deliver the message to more schools, more children and more communities than ever before, with a record number of lessons being taught on the day in various countries around the world.

Outdoor Classroom Day, now an annual event, is designed to raise awareness of the fact that the outdoors is not just good for health and wellbeing, it also has strong links to improved attention and concentration, increased productivity and learning, better behaviour, and more positive teacher/pupil relationships.

Juno Hollyhock, Chief Executive at Learning through Landscapes explains, “The real aim of Outdoor Classroom Day is to inspire the world by letting children and teachers experience the true benefits of outdoor learning and play. No matter where you are in the world, learning outdoors will help children focus, it will boost their creativity and enhance their imagination -and it’s also more fun! Whether its maths, music, science, art, drama or a language- being outdoors makes lessons truly memorable- and adds to the enjoyment of childhood.”

To inspire schools to participate, organisers of Outdoor Classroom Day have made a vast number of free materials and resources available, to encourage teachers and schools in various ways. Put together by industry professionals, working together for the first time to promote this initiative, these resources will inspire, encourage and provide a safe and supportive framework for schools to teach outside.

Parents, teachers and schools can get involved simply by going online and signing up on the Outdoor Classroom Day website, where they can access everything they need. Whether its outdoor lesson ideas, resources to encourage others to get involved, or guidance on making outdoor learning and play part of everyday life in their school.

Everything parents and teachers need can be found at: