Camping weekends for disabled children run by social care provider Dimensions , which enable them to take part in fun activities like zip-wiring and assault courses, have received more than £26,000.
Buddies, which is the children and young people service within leading learning disabilities and autism support provider Dimensions, has received £26,668 from Children In Need for its Go Camping weekends. This money will allow 32 more children to take part in the weekends in Oxford and Essex.
The Buddies Go Camping weekends enable children aged eight to 19 with disabilities to experience the great outdoors through camping. While there they also take part in many inclusive and exciting activities like archery, quad biking and climbing.
Lucy Campbell, director of children and young people at Dimensions, said: “It provides a good opportunity for young people to make new friends and socialise while away from home. They enjoy being independent and learn life skills while on the weekends too.”
Usually, Buddies is commissioned by Local Authorities to run the weekends at activity centres and such weekends will still continue. But this grant means that eight extra weekends will be provided next year in Essex and Oxford. A total of 32 more children, four participating in each weekend, will benefit from the extra funding.
Buddies Go Camping weekends have been running since 2010, since when about 250 children and young people have taken part. Three staff members support children on each weekend.
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this grant. It means that we can further enhance the provision, allowing more children to enjoy independent weekends away and be included in community activities they usually wouldn’t be able to take part in, ” said Lucy.
“The children participating in the weekends get a lot from Buddies Go Camping and it’s exciting that we can offer more weekends as a result of this grant.”
Buddies Go Camping operates in Suffolk, Luton, Southend, Oxford and West Berkshire. The service started as a direct result of Dimensions asking parents what they felt their children would enjoy and benefit from. “We found that families wanted outdoor activities for their children – providing something that, typically, disabled children wouldn’t get to experience.
“So we built a model around having four children supported by three members of staff while camping. It’s all about providing a range of activities in a safe environment,” explains Lucy.
One essential aspect to the weekends is drawing up a ‘go camping’ plan – allowing parents and the children to plan what they would like to get out of the weekend.
“This outlines a range of outcomes for each individual. It could be that they want to go zip-wiring, they want to speak up in a group, they want to be more independent when getting ready in a morning or want help with their diet,” added Lucy.
For more information please contact Kayley Worsley, PR and communications officer at Dimensions:
(t) 0114 2412112
Dimensions is a leading specialist not-for-profit provider of support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. It supports about 3,000 people in England and Wales. For more information go to www.dimensions-uk.org
Buddies is the children and young people service within Dimensions. The Buddies Go Camping weekends run from March through to October every year. Other Buddies services include Buddies @ home, Buddies clubs, Buddies tots and Buddies you’ve got a friend. For more information visit www.dimensions-uk.org/buddies