Spotlight on a volunteer role

Mary I’Anson has volunteered at The Holly Lodge Centre for 13 years, since her retirement from Teaching at a local primary school – The Vineyard. She is a volunteer on our Education Team who come to the centre weekly and teach lessons, from Invertebrates and Pond Dipping to Victorian Servants and World War 1. She is one of 6 volunteers who play the role of strict Mrs Sawyer, the Victorian teacher and delivers an immersive Victorian lesson in our school room to primary aged children.

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Free Learning Workshops at The Holly Lodge Centre

Next year we are able to offer 20 free outdoor workshops to schools in deprived areas, thanks to funding from the Barbara Ward Children's Foundation and Thames Water. We also have funding from the Kaye Pemberton Charitable Trust and Richmond Hill Open Gardens that enables us to pay towards the cost of transport to get to Richmond Park, which can be expensive and a barrier for many schools to getting their pupils outside.

We believe it is vital all children have access to outdoor education and as an article about The Wildlife Trusts in the Guardian on 7th November explains ‘Primary schoolchildren should spend at least one hour a day learning and playing in wild places to help improve their wellbeing and confidence’.

Therefore this funding enables us to give children, many of whom may not usually have the opportunity to learn outside, the chance to explore our beautiful nature trail. They can take part in activities such as pond dipping, bird watching, building animal habitats and searching for minibeasts. We are looking forward to introducing hundreds of children to their first newts, frogs, tadpoles and slugs!

To find out about the workshops we offer, please visit;
Places are limited so please get in contact soon. To book your class, please contact Sarah Allgrove on 0208 940 8730 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Clarendon school children hang out with live bats

We all went completely batty over some very special visitors to the Centre last week. We were joined by the whole of Clarendon Junior School, who came to learn all about bats. The classroom had been converted to a bat cave where the children donned costumes and discovered some stories about bats. Out on the nature trail we used our sensory dipping boxes to explore some more facts about bats, the children hunted for moths and recreated echolocation. The finale was to meet live bats kindly brought to the Centre by Derek from Surrey Bat Trust. We all met two tiny soprano pipistrelle bats, Billy and Benny, who were most obliging and let everyone get up close to have a look at them.

The day was even featured in the Richmond and Twickenham Times, read the article here.