WilderMe grew from our passion for the restorative power of nature and our determination to help tribes thrive. WilderMe is a social enterprise offering wellbeing & activity retreats to adults with autism which empowers guests by giving them the tools to re-connect with nature, themselves and their tribe resulting in long term social connections and inner resilience.
We’re the first autism-led holiday of its kind in the UK, possibly even the world, to offer this unique package to our guests and their tribes; glamping (luxury camping) in Eco Geo-Domes, immersive experiences in nature, creative arts and continual attention to developing inner wellbeing. We also offer a free wellbeing aftercare package to promote optimum prosperity, long after guests return home. We invite you to join our movement in revolutionising autism retreats to include wellbeing and tribal togetherness.
When not being used for our autism retreats we want to offer the Eco Geo-Domes to groups and corporate businesses to generate funds which will then go directly towards subsidising places for autistic adults or their families who would otherwise struggle to pay for their holiday due to being on a lower income. Our ambition for our autism retreats is that No-one. Is. Ever. Excluded.
“The Dynamics of the group changed, with individuals who were usually quiet speaking up more. Anxiety levels in certain individuals also dropped. While confidence seemed to grow in others."
WilderMe saw great success with our pilot holiday, achieving instant positive effects on wellbeing, confidence, tribal togetherness and decreased anxiety. After 5 days holidaying together the group had not only learnt new skills and felt improved wellbeing but bonded to become a real tribe, working and supporting one another.
“The trip was wonderful and it really helped the guys socialise and be more relaxed. It made a big difference to their anxieties."
“The residents seemed to bond more while on the trip. They interacted with one another and helped each other during activities"
With an Awards For All Big Lottery Fund we were lucky to secure seven Eco Geo-Domes; six will be used as accommodation for up to 12 guests and one will be a communal space for tribe dining / socialising and bad weather activity space. We’ve completed furnishing one Geo-Dome but (there’s always a ‘but’!) we now need to furnish and insulate the other 6!
“I had a smashing time on holiday and would highly recommend this holiday project!"
Each Geo-Dome requires; proper comfy beds for a good night’s sleep, bedding, privacy curtains, fire safety equipment, solar lighting and high quality, wool serge liner to insulate the domes. It’s important we create a tranquil environment that meets guests’ sensory needs.
“A great time had by all, a real bonding experience and everyone who went has requested to go back as soon as possible!"
WilderMe is offering lots of exciting rewards in return for your support, but most importantly, by helping us grow our business, you are helping us to expand our sphere of influence: calming busy minds and building thriving tribes, thereby easing feelings of isolation and mental health problems experienced by autistic adults and the tribes they live in.
“Overall, the holiday was extremely beneficial for the residents. The holiday gave them the opportunity to relax, bond, try new things and have fun. As a staff member, I felt supported by (WilderMe) staff. I would highly recommend this holiday any individuals with any mental health condition or disability.”
No-one should have to feel overwhelmed by the modern world. By guiding and motivating guests to reconnect with nature, themselves and their tribes we will enable and empower them to continue this by passing on tools so they can achieve lifelong wellbeing and connectedness.
“The sense of camaraderie between my fellow holiday-goers and me was an excellent feature of the holiday too! We bonded as a group, and I now feel far more positive and determined about my future plans and prospects.”
During the course of 5 days and over 8 creative, nature and adventurous activities we offer guests an innovative and immersive experience. WilderMe gives tribes a unique opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and recalibrate.
Join the WilderMe Revolution. Please back us now. Pledge what you can, share our story and help us make a real difference to people living in care – by showing them that you care.
We have some wonderfully wild rewards, lovingly created to promote your wellbeing and put a smile on your face. We hope you find something that embraces your wild side.
If you want to meet the team and dig deeper into the WilderMe mission, please read on…
Meet the founders of WilderMe: Natalie and Geoff.
Natalie: I worked in London as a Support Worker in Residential & Supported living homes for adults with autism and Asperger’s. I found my calling in life at last: caring. Having grown up in rural Norfolk I was no stranger to country life and decided to organise a camping trip for the home where I worked. Upon researching, I found there was little available for people with autism, less still for adults and nothing that included creative arts, so I created my own camping adventure complete with a creative arts itinery. Blown away by the breakthroughs in tribal togetherness, wellbeing and the overcoming of personal challenges, I was so inspired that I knew I had to expand upon this, and therefore WilderMe was born. I studied in Performing Arts prior to working with adults with autism and therefore hold firm the belief in the power of the arts for self-expression and wellbeing. My idols are Dawn French and Mr Bean.
Geoff: Whilst in London I was fortunate enough to find full time employment as a drummer, touring, recording albums and doing a session work but I always also enjoyed teaching and passing on my passion for music to the next generation. Since a very young boy I have been fascinated by nature, getting up at the crack of dawn to hear the dawn chorus, learning as many British bird calls as possible and keen to identify anything that didn't talk. My idols are John Bonham and David Attenborough.
Since deciding to move to Cornwall and embark on the journey of establishing WilderMe, we have completed several training courses, our favourite has been SHINRIN YOKU CPD PRACTITIONER TRAINING COURSE. We've developed our understanding of how showing compassionate attention to nature can enhance our wellbeing, whilst also helping to protect the planet at the same time, win win! We're constantly researching ways to find calm in the chaos of the modern world and sustain happiness so that we can pass on this knowledge within our retreats. It's been an exciting journey so far and we’re really looking forward to making waves with this project and a positive, lasting impact!
“The (WilderMe) staff were fantastic with the residents. As soon as we arrived we were all made to feel very welcome. By the end of the trip the residents said they were sad to leave and wanted to come back next year. They went above and beyond to support the residents”
Government funding is decreasing year on year, leaving those most vulnerable in our society neglected, often adults with additional needs feel this pinch the worst.
70% of autistic adults feel with more support they would feel less isolated
Bancroft et al (2012)
70% of People with autism are at risk of suffering from anxiety and severe anxiety
“The evidence relating to contact with nature and green exercise for the general population also suggests that activities in natural settings have therapeutic properties and that people with lower levels of wellbeing (e.g. lower self-esteem and mood), often experience greater benefits”
Pretty et al (2007) Barton and Pretty (2010)
Using the research of over 400 scientists from across the world, The New Economics Foundation (Nef) identified five evidenced-based actions which if built into daily routines, would improve health and wellbeing (Nef, 2008):
1) Connect 2) Be Active 3) Take Notice 4) Keep Learning 5) Give
Having seen first-hand the overwhelmingly positive effects being in nature and participating in creative arts can have on a person and their tribe we know that there is so much unused potential going to waste from the opportunities a holiday brings. WilderMe was founded in an attempt to take full advantage of those opportunities by empowering guests with the tools needed to live a happier, connected life.
To discover even more about WilderMe please visit our website www.wilderme.com or please, just shout!
Peace, Love + Pasties,
Natalie & Geoff