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New indoor play ‘cave’ build by local young people to open on Saturday 12th May

Published: 18 Mar 2018


Kids Go Caving, the opening event for the #MakeCaves initiative takes place on Saturday 12th May for local primary school children. The crowdfunded project is East London’s first caving experience, challenging kids to take up more diverse sporting activities and be active.

Young people participating in Toynbee Hall’s Make it! youth project decided to launch a crowdfunding project featuring an indoor caving experience that they’ll build themselves, over just three days.

We successfully crowdfunded £15,600 which is enough to build the cave but we are now on to phase 2 to fundraise for the safety equipment.

In order to raise this money we will invite local children to come down to the opening and explore the cave, alongside other energetic activities led by Soul L.T.D. We will also provide healthy drinks and snacks to keep energy levels up.

This event is split in to 2 sessions

11:00am – 1:30pm – years 3 & 4

2:00pm – 4:30pm years 5 & 6

We ask for a 'pay what you feel' donation for each child taking part, made via spacehive* and you can make your donation here now.

The Make it! project offers young people the opportunity to make lasting change in their community while developing their critical thinking skills. Last year they built an outdoor classroom at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and this year look to build something lasting that promotes a healthier lifestyle. They also decided to take matters into their hands in response to the growing number of playgrounds being shut down in the UK – expected to double from 200 to 400 by the end of this year.

Since 2014, more than two hundred playgrounds across the UK have been closed – the majority in London – leaving kids in the East End with limited equipment and sporting facilities to keep them active, healthy and challenged. The problem was worsened last year when Tower Hamlets council voted against funding the Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation (THYSF), despite petitioning by thousands of local residents.

We’re building a cave in Mile End Park so that there’s more for me and my friends to do outside of school. We think the cave will be popular with kids of different ages so our younger siblings can play in it too."
Habibah, George Greens School

Around 70% of British children give up sports by the age of 13, largely due to lack of diversity in experiences. In a place like Tower Hamlets – where there are 42 fast food restaurants for every school and a quarter of children are obese – keeping kids active is essential.

In only 3 days, young people will build an indoor cave at Mile End Urban Adventure Base (UAB). The cave will be designed and constructed entirely by the young people themselves, with expertise provided by local charity Build Up Foundation.  Students will come together from three different East London schools and throughout the project they will learn about healthy eating by cooking all their own meals. They will also produce a short film of their experiences. After the project, our students will introduce the cave to local children on activities day they will lead for 360 year 6 students transitioning to secondary school.

Why it’s a great idea

The idea for a cave came about after our young people tried caving last year. It was a hit not only with our young people, but also with staff who saw how it fostered teamwork and problem-solving. Once built, the cave will serve as a high-quality play facility. Thousands of local children will play in it each year, getting active and making friends they may not otherwise have met.

The cave will also support the UAB in their own work with young people. The centre only has one all-weather activity at present, making rainy days a challenge. The introduction of a second all-weather activity will ensure the centre is able to deliver activities for young people come rain or shine, and will act as a draw to the youth centre, putting children in touch with the other activities available.

Play spaces in East London are uninspiring: even more so now so many are being closed due to the cuts. It’s not enough for young people to just have areas of grey concrete to play on; they need a diversity of experience and to be challenged mentally and physically in new ways. Caving takes everyone outside of their comfort zone - in order to successfully navigate it you need to stay calm, problem solve and communicate well with your team. I’m hugely inspired by these kids who’ve decided that if they want change, they can do it themselves, crowdfunding and building their own caving facility. I hope that Londoners are feeling generous enough to make it! happen!”
Curtis Worrell, Youth Projects Manager, Toynbee Hall

We need support from as many people as possible to make this a reality. If you would like to back this project, please go to Find out more about the event, on our Facebook event.

For more information contact Curtis Worrell, Youth Projects Manager, on 07961906008 or email