Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

ReWild Hastings

Project Rewild celebrates five years!

Hearing that Project Rewild is celebrating five years of existence, HOT’s Zelly Restorick spoke to Luke Funnell, the project’s initiator and founder, about how it feels and their biggest achievements.

ZR: Congratulations on celebrating five years of Project Rewild. How does it feel?

LF: It’s amazing to reach this point. It feels really good. I feel very proud. It’s been hard work keeping a small CIC going. This is a landmark time for us, time to reflect, take a break from the doing, doing, doing of normal daily life. Time to think about all the achievements of the past 5 years.”

ZR: What’s been your biggest achievement, do you think?

LF: Making the work more accessible to more children and adults – and supporting all the children and adults who get involved. Our groups have been available to so many people; we’ve worked with thousands of children and hundreds of adults. It’s been a very powerful, important and moving journey.

Take Action Man!

ZR: What groups have you run since starting up?

LF: The children’s work has been a very important aspect of Project Rewild with Rewild Hastings, offering free workshops in the local community. If there’s been no funding, we’ve run the workshops for nothing. We’ve taken our work into the woods, onto the beach, local green and outdoor spaces. Rewild Hastings is core to the project, with accessibility at the heart of everything.

We’ve run workshops in the woods in the school holidays, woodland days for kids and we’ve worked in schools doing outdoor learning, which is very therapeutic and activities like permaculture and growing spaces. This core group and expanded beyond working with children.

We also run mental health and wellbeing learning – and there’s the men’s group, Take Action Man! and an outdoor women’s group called Grow. And we’ve started using our amazing coastline with Project Seawild with outdoor learning on the beaches – for both adults and children.


ZR: What do you see in the future for Project Rewild and all the groups?

LF: I’d like to see the project grow, so that we reach more people. Not growing and expanding as a corporation, but making the project accessible to more and more people.

This isn’t just about outdoor learning, this is a mission to reintroduce people to their natural world. I believe that a lot of our problems are caused by our disconnection from the natural world. It’s an emotional connection, it’s being a part of it, loving it – and understanding that this is our natural state of being and we’ve lost touch with it.

I feel so passionately about the project. I’ve had to be. Starting the project was a huge commitment and I’ve given all my time and energy to it that I possibly can do. It’s certainly not about the money. It’s a vision, a calling to do this work. I could talk about it for hours!

ZR: Will you be having a public five year celebration?

LF: We’ll have a celebration at the end of the summer, as we’ve got a busy timetable of events throughout the summer.

Feedback from the different groups:

I asked Luke for some feedback and comments from the participants of his groups, to let people’s voices be heard and to show what a fantastic organisation Project Rewild is.

ReWild Hastings

ReWild Hastings:

“We are so lucky to have Project Rewild in our town. My children always come home tired, muddy and full of magical stories of their adventures. This is what all children should be doing”
Molly, Parent 2021

“Can’t imagine Hastings life without Rewild. First thing I ever dropped my son off at… he loves the energy and all-weather adventures. Big respect to the highly experienced team and what they offer to local children.”
Jo,  Parent 2023

“My daughter adores her time at Project Rewild. Not only does she soak up huge amounts of woodland knowledge and skills, her love of nature is nurtured and expanded. She’s also afforded the freedom of being her whole self there. She feels understood and free and no matter the weather, even in the pitch black winter afternoons, she’s always keen to go. A group like no other.”
Hannah, Parent, 2023

“Project Re-wild are amazing at what they do, my kids are loving connecting with nature and feeling part of a tribe. There are so many “forest schools” out there nowadays, but this is so much more than that, it’s about genuinely connecting with the earth and others. We are so lucky that we discovered Rewilding”.
Nicola, Free To Learn Parent, 2022

“What an amazing experience. What a lovely group of caring people. All members of Project Rewild team are delivering an incredible learning/life experience for our daughter. Cannot thank you all enough. Please do not change anything. You are all such lovely human beings.”
Jeremy, Parent 2023

Take Action Man!

Take Action Man: comments from participants:

“Take Action Man has had a profound impact on me. It has highlighted that we are not alone as Men”.

“Take action man is a great way to help with mental health in a holistic way, providing free activities that are genuinely worth doing like bushcraft or foraging. It’s helped me and I’m certain it’s helping other men”.

“It seems obvious that men do better if they get out of their heads regularly, otherwise we give our noisy brains too much credence. I am very glad that you are out there creating a loving group, where men can connect and learn cool shit and hang out in a gentler space”.

“The Men’s Circle is a beautiful space, where I feel held and able to share with other men in an intimate setting and   with a sense of safety and vulnerability I don’t get to enjoy in daily life”.

“I’m also deeply grateful for the support I’ve received from Luke. His deep, embodied and practical passion for what he does has been an inspiration to me, and he’s not only encouraged me but actively supported me in sharing my passions, skills and joy with the community”.

“I feel safe sitting around the fire with these men. I don’t know them well but it gives me an opportunity to talk about things I would never usually open up about, I can talk honestly and openly and I feel I am heard and supported without judgement”



“It has been such a blessing to be part of the Rewild experience! From winter to spring and even summer, we have been able to seed, plant, water, harvest and cooked all the vegetables we put in the soil. What a joyful satisfaction!”
Lise 2022

“The Project Rewild sessions are simply wonderful: grounding, nourishing, soothing, educational. We tend the earth together, and each other. Polly and Claire are brilliant, wise, generous facilitators, and I’m incredibly grateful for the time spent with them, and the group, and the allotment.”
Rosy 2022

“Absolutely love the Grow Women’s group on Thursdays, it’s a gentle few hours of planting, learning, chit chatting, breathing fresh air, tea drinking and meditating in the beautiful allotment. I love picking up bits and bobs of knowledge from Claire, Polly and the other group members about permaculture, growing food and foraging. Join if you want to connect with yourself, life minded women and nature!”
Beth, 2023

Project Rewild contact details

07557 146626 

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Posted 11:15 Tuesday, Jul 25, 2023 In: Nature

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