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Sefton Children’s Trust Annual Residential Experience

At Manor Adventure

1st - 8th August 2015

This report will give a brief overview and flavour of the children’s experiences during the summer residential.  The residential offers a week of respite* for the children and their families from the difficulties of their everyday lives. We begin this year’s report by thanking each and every one of our supporters; it is due to your kindness that the Sefton Children’s Trust 2015 residential was able to take place.  

Sefton Children’s Trust would especially like to thank the following for their continued support.   Our inspirational and dedicated team of volunteers, who take leave from their busy working and private lives to ensure that the children have the best possible experience during the week away.  Our committee members and bid writers who work tirelessly throughout the year and the community organisations and professionals of Sefton who have taken the time to refer children and Manor Adventure Centre for providing the children with a safe, challenging and exciting week and most of all our generous funders and kind hearted individual donators.  We can honestly say we could not have done it without you all!

*respite - A short period of rest or relief from something difficult (

On a rainy Saturday 1st August 2015 at 10.30am, our team of Sefton Children’s Trust volunteers met at the prestigious setting of Bootle Town Hall and began the registration process of 65 extremely excited children who were taking part in this year’s Sefton Children’s Trust residential.  Once registered, the children and volunteers boarded the 2 coaches and waved goodbye to their families and loved ones, to begin the 7-day action packed week of fun filled activities and long lasting memories.  

The 2-hour journey to Manor Adventure Centre, Shropshire was over in a flash and the rest of our volunteer team, some of whom arrived the evening before to prepare the bedrooms, bedding, clothes, tuck shop and many additional tasks that help the week run smoothly, soon welcomed us.  Once at Manor Adventure we were now a complete team of 65 children (42 boys and 23 girls) and 25 volunteers, including 9 new volunteers, all taking a week’s annual leave out of their busy professional lives, to support the charity.  Upon arrival the 65 children were split into their 8 groups (3 female groups and 5 male groups), all of the groups had their own distinguishable caps that helped us and them identify who was a part of which group!  On day 1 the children were given a tour of the Adventure Centre and introduced to the 2 volunteers that would become their group leaders/mentors for the week.  Caps on, change of clothes, bedroom found and then their fun commenced.  

The children’s days were structured as follows, wake up from 7am, breakfast from 8am, then 1 x 90 minute activity, morning break, another activity, lunch followed by 2 more 90 minute activities (with a break in between), evening meal followed by the final activity session, with lights out aimed to be for approximately 9pm.  This works out at an average of 7.5 hours of physically challenging and mentally stimulating activity each day!  This year the activities that the children participated in were:

  • High ropes course
  • Crate Stack
  • Obstacle course
  • Abseiling
  • Rock climbing
  • Underground maze
  • Confidence course
  • Zip wire
  • Archery
  • Biking
  • Arts and crafts
  • Dance/drama
  • Film making
  • Swimming
  • Kayak & Canoe
  • Raft building

The weather during the week was mostly kind to us, enabling all of the activities to take place in mostly dry conditions, with the obvious exception of the water based activities, where the unofficial objective is to get as wet as possible!  

From the feedback we’ve had from the children, the top three areas they said they enjoyed most were swimmingactivities involving heights and making new friends.  We feel that the statement of making new friends is a powerful one.   As you can imagine, sharing a week away with a group of people that you do not know can be very challenging, we like to think that we have introduced the children to an array of life skills, such as communication skills, patience, fairness, kindness, teamwork and problem solving skills.  These skills can be developed once back in their own communities and schools.  

We would like to include in this report, two pieces of feedback that have been sent to us post 2015 break.  The first statement was feedback by a schoolteacher

As a way to measure impact and help us plan for the future, the children completed the ‘Stirling Children’s Well-being Scale’, this scale aims to measure children’s outlook on life and their emotional well being.  Volunteers supported the children to complete this on day 1 and again on day 7.  The headline finding from our analysis of questionnaires tells us:

Children made an improvement in average scores by 1.7 which demonstrates a significant overall improvement, especially when compared to last year’s scores which showed only a 0.2 improvement.

The well being of 30 children improved over the course of just 6 days is to be celebrated.’

Improvements were recorded in 10 out of 12 of the Well Being Sub-scale areas. The largest improvements were captured in the following areas: (Statement 12) I’ve been getting on well with people – an increase by 20 points / Ave 0.4 (Statement 1) I think good things will happen in my life – an increase by 18 points / Ave 0.4 (Statement 5) I feel that I am good at some things – an increase by 16 points / Ave 0.3 (Statement 4) I can find lots of fun things to do  - an increase by 16 points / Ave 0.3(Statement 6) I think lots of people care about me – an increase by 13 points / Ave 0.3

During the week it is our dance/drama volunteer, Amy’s role to build the children’s confidence and trust and encourage each of the 8 groups to learn and perform a dance in front of their peers, our volunteers and the staff of Manor Adventure at the end of camp show, she also has to do the same for our staff dance!  Well, this year’s show was amazing/epic/awesome, with all children in all of the groups taking part.  This is a huge achievement for those children and one that many of them would not have attempted on day 1 of their holiday; helping to prove that with the correct support, structure, positive reinforcement and challenging activities the children of Sefton can perform beyond their wildest imaginations.  The final night was rounded off with a disco and firework display and numerous renditions our camp song – ‘The World’s Greatest’!

The final day took the form of children changing into their own clothes; packing up their sleeping bags, toiletry bags, toiletries, cuddly toys (all provided by the charity for them to take home) and their pieces of work from arts and crafts.  We all ate breakfast together with one last version of the camp song and waited to board the coaches.  All of the children were presented with a personalised certificate that had been carefully written by each group leader, highlighting particular strengths and developments of the child during the week and a special memento that they can keep and feel proud.

We provide age appropriate films and cartoons to keep the children entertained on the coaches, along with a healthy lunch.  We finally arrived back at Bootle Town Hall by 12pm on Saturday 8th August, for the children to be reunited with their parents/carers and share stories of their 2015 Sefton Children’s Trust experience.

Every child that went on the holiday without exception has fed back

that they had a great time with JW saying that it was the best time of his life ever’.

The next statement was sent to us by a local youth worker who spoke to a group of boys, who had been on the 2015 break

‘I bumped into 3 young men on Wednesday while out on the youth bus in the Bark and Daley Road area. These young men were really engaging and after speaking to them they asked me if I knew Adele (one of our volunteers) and said they had been ‘The Manor’.  After telling me all about the fantastic time they had also about who did or didn’t lose points they asked if I would give you a message.  All said “Thank you for such a great time at the Manor, we miss you and can we come again next year?”