Sefton Childrens Trust
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The 35th annual Sefton Children’s Trust (SCT) residential holiday took place from Saturday 10th August 2019 to Saturday 17th August 2019, and what a memorable week it was for all involved!

Our residential took place at The Manor Adventure centre in Shropshire, below are results of some of the headlines from the week, volunteers evaluations and children’s feedback:

On a very rainy Saturday, 10th August, 75 Sefton based children aged between 8-12 and 30 adult volunteers, set off from the very prestigious setting of Bootle Town Hall, ready to enjoy 7 days of fun filled activities, friendships and memories that will last a life time!

Two hours later, the 2 coaches arrived at Manor Adventure, Craven Arms, Shropshire to be warmly welcomed by the Manor staff and a group of our own volunteers, who arrived the night before to prepare the clothes stores, bedrooms and tuck for the week. The welcome committee really contributed to the setting of the scene for the week and help the children, to feel at ease and excited for everything that was to come.

Each pair of leaders was allocated its group for the week. Children took part in 6 days of physically and mentally challenging activities with their peers, supported by their group leaders and professional instructors.  The children in each team are allocated all the same clothing, waterproofs and wellies as required.  We provide pumps for all the children throughout the week and the children were excited to receive their baseball caps, group clothes and team numbers, so the fun began. 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 8 hours of physically challenging and mentally stimulating activities each day!  With this volume of activity, we ensure that the children eat 3 hot meals per day, eating together as a team, encouraging conversation between each other.  Each volunteer’s role is to ensure that children are eating food that they like, trying new foods/fruits and vegetables and that the children understand that the food they eat is helping their energy levels throughout the day.

The challenging activities help the children to support each other through teamwork, planning, problem solving, fun and a huge amount of humour. Arts and crafts sessions gave the groups the chance to focus on their more creative side and design souvenirs and keep sakes to take home to families and friends.  The fabulous heated outdoor swimming pool proved again to be one of the most popular activities on camp, seeing our children enjoying the freedom to ‘just have fun’ in a safe environment highlights the sheer joy that they have during this week.

All the children participated in dance/drama activities throughout the week of the residential, learning a choreographed piece to perform in the end of week talent show/performance.  For many this is the highlight of their week and is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment on behalf of the children and our volunteer dance/drama tutor.  Children low in confidence, who have never performed in front of an audience, confidently expressed themselves in front of their peers, SCT volunteers and the Manor Adventure instructors (an audience of over 100 people)!

Sefton Children’s Trust uses a monitoring and evaluation activities questionnaire compiled in line with BBC Children in Need’s vision that every child in the UK has a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential.  The results from this questionnaire will enable us to gain more meaningful feedback from our children, help us to get to know each child better, plan for future programmes and measure the impact of their experiences with us.  As part of this, each child individually completed a short pre-camp and end of camp questionnaire, which was designed using smiling faces, colours and questions that help the children to think about them and their experiences. This was explained through the support of each group leader as part of a circle activity, where children were able to use colourful pens and get support in reading the questions where needed.

From the feedback we have had from the children, the top three areas they said they enjoyed most were swimming, high ropes and making new friends.  We feel that the statement of making new friends is a powerful one.   To share a week away with a group of people they 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 effective communication, patience, fairness, kindness, teamwork and problem solving.  These skills can be further developed once back in their own communities and schools.  

The main outcomes from the questionnaires

100% of children fed back that they rated their camp experience as great or very good

98% of the children said they had made new friends and most of children fed back that the best thing about camp was making new friends

Top 4 ‘ best things’ about the camp:

The final day took the form of children changing into their own clothes, packing up their sleeping bags, toilet bags, toiletries, cuddly toys (all provided by the charity) and their pieces of work from arts and crafts, eating breakfast together, one last version of the camp song before boarding the coaches.  Each child was 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.  This personalised certificate of achievement is a special memento, which they can keep and feel proud of as it recognises the progress made during the residential. We provided a healthy lunch, age appropriate films and cartoons to keep the children entertained on the coaches.  Sefton Children’s Trust had another successful residential!

Sefton Children’s Trust Residential Report

10 August – 17 August 2019