Summer camps have second successful year

From survival skills to museums and technology demonstrations to a zoo visit, children from schools in Blyth and Red Row have voted their summer holiday camps a massive success. 
 
For the second year running, attendees at the summer camps have benefitted from four weeks of fun and inspiring activities, while at the same time learning and developing their personal skills and building confidence. 

The summer holiday activities are led by Northumberland County Council and delivered in Blyth by local charity Leading Link and in Red Row by the County First School, along with a range of other partner organisations. 

Around 150 children, aged from six to 13 volunteered to attend the camps and enjoyed a wide range of sports, bushcraft skills, away day trips and other fun, creative and adventurous sessions.

Educational, yet fun visits were made Port of Blyth, Northumberlandia, Plessey Woods Country Park, Kirkley Hall Zoo, Woodhorn Museum, Concordia Leisure Centre and Northumberland’s beaches.  

In Blyth, Leading Link put forward a team of young people to help run the sessions and to act as ambassadors and role models for the children. The ambassadors are trained through the Children’s University giving them leadership, life and work skills. 

Young leader, Ryan McMillan said: “Working with the children in Blyth has inspired my passion for teaching.  The summer camp allows children to experience life in a whole new way, encouraging their imagination to grow and to set them up for life.”

Lyn Horton, CEO of Leading Link, was delighted in the progress she saw in the young people.  She said: “This is our second year as lead on this programme and it was great once again seeing how much the kids engaged with the activities and events. 

“The project was four hours a day, four times a week for four weeks and it was amazing how the young people bonded during these times. Relationship building started from the outset but over the four weeks they really embed and grow as trust and understanding develop.

“Each year we watch in fascination as the children’s confidence and aspirations grow in front of our eyes. 

“The benefits don’t just extend to the children either. Our ambassadors have gained valuable life skills and experiences that they can use in future job applications or in life in general. It’s a great scheme and we’re already looking forward to our next ‘summer holidays’.”  

The camps have also enjoyed help from a team of parent and family volunteers who have supported the programme and the children.

Grandparent, Angela Cardill, said:  “‘My grandchildren loved the experiences and activities throughout the whole four weeks.  Each one growing in confidence and achieving more than I could have hoped for. Thanks go to Lyn and her team of dedicated selfless volunteers who made every effort to meet the children’s needs, some with quite complex issues.  

“I really can’t praise and recommend everyone highly enough.  An amazing group of like-minded people who made a huge difference for a lot of children this summer.”

Parent, Tracey, who brought son Liam aged 9 and daughter Maygan aged 7, said:  “The camp provided amazing opportunity for kids to make friends and build confidence and most of all have fun without any worries in the world.  As a parent I was welcomed in and made to feel part of the team too.”

Tracey has now offered to volunteer with Children’s University Northumberland.

Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said: “The long summer holidays can be hard to fill for some young people.  These summer camps have been designed to provide stimulating and enjoyable activities for youngsters in Northumberland.

“It is clear to see that they have had a good time - whilst also learning valuable life skills, building confidence and making new friends. 

“The council has been very pleased to work with a range of other organisations to make these camps happen, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved and contributed.”

Thanks for support to the programme goes to Active Northumberland, Briardale House in Blyth, Hadston House, Draegar, and local organisations and groups including East Meets West karate group, Clarty Commandos, Port of Blyth, Northumberland  Wildlife Trust, Wrestling Academy, Red Cross, DLS Falconry, the Blyth Asda Community Champion, Northumberland County Council’s health improvement team, early help staff from local children’s centres, locality co-ordinators and Blyth Town Council.

All of the children who took part in the camps had their achievements acknowledged through Children’s University ‘passports’, with the costs of these supported by Blyth Croft County Councilor, Kath Nisbet. Thanks to this, all participants will be able to continue with the Children’s University scheme throughout the year.

A funding package was put together by Northumberland County Council, the schools and community partners to develop these ‘more than the school day’ activities.
 
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