Wildside Activity Centre

Wildside Activity Centre

Wildside Activity Centre is a small charity in a highly deprived neighbourhood of Wolverhampton which offers environmental activities, outdoor pursuits and narrowboat trips. Its aim is to get users outdoors and back in touch with nature. All ages, all abilities – we reconnect people with nature. Staff and volunteers work as a team with a clear picture of this mission. They are very welcoming, enthusiastic, inclusive and knowledgeable about wildlife. At the end of March 2020, the Centre had 46 volunteers in different capacities.

Users include children, families, schools, community groups, older people, people with disabilities, mental health issues and other additional needs, and the unemployed. In 2019/20, the Centre recorded 8002 attendances with the largest numbers of groups coming from deprived estates in the inner ring of the city. Wildside is proud of its inclusive approach and users with disabilities, mental health issues and long-term health needs make up a high proportion of its usage.

Wildside promotes awareness of wildlife and care for the environment. There are very few opportunities in Wolverhampton for this sort of education and a general lack of green spaces. It definitely meets a need by maintaining a small centre on the canal corridor with access to the local nature reserve.

We know this has a tremendous knock on effect in people’s lives. The boat trips and the environmental activities include people of all ages and abilities, making a bridge so those who are fearful or lack any knowledge of wildlife can still enjoy the outdoors. Feedback shows that the majority of users make new friends, feel more confident and less stressed, and learn more about wildlife. One boy with autism came on a boat trip with us. He did not normally speak at all. He made friends with another lad on the boat and they played computer games together. By the end of the trip, they were chatting easily together. The two families have kept in touch since. For us, that’s what it’s all about.

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Wildside Activity Centre

Hordern Road

Whitmore Reans



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