Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Supporters of Derby Kids’ Camp pitch in ahead of 50th birthday celebrations

BUSINESS leaders and supporters of much-loved charity Derby Kids’ Camp have visited the site to see for themselves the impact that the voluntary organisation has on hundreds of disadvantaged children each year, as the charity looks for volunteers to help mark its 50th anniversary.

Local PR manager Kerry Ganly, journalist Angelica Celinska, Amanda Strong – founder of Strong Connections – and Paul Taylor, of YMCA Derbyshire, joined local businesses, for a tour of the campsite where they also met with volunteers and children.

Kids’ Camp also welcomed the Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire Elizabeth Fothergill and deputy Brell Ewart, who planted a commemorative tree on site as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and, over the summer holidays, representatives from Derby City Council, Trent College and EMA Training have also visited camp.

“It’s great to see first-hand the impact that Derby Kids’ Camp is making,” said Kerry Ganly, “the children are not only making lifelong memories but improving their confidence and social skills – and enjoying being children.

“We met with ‘Animal Man’ whilst we were at camp; a former Derby Kids’ Camp child who now attends camp every year. He brought along a variety of unusual animals for the children to meet and it was lovely to see their happy, smiling faces.”

Derby Kids’ Camp, which celebrates its 50th birthday in 2023, provides free holidays for some of the most deserving children in the city and county who are nominated by their school; many are living in poverty or have suffered bereavement, or they may be finding social interaction difficult after the past couple of years and subsequent lockdowns.

Peter Ellse, founder of Cosy and a patron of Derby Kids’ Camp, said:

“Volunteers are crucial to Derby Kids Camp, which is entirely self-funded. Over the last 49 years, the charity has provided 15,000 children with a much-needed break.

“This year we were short of around 50 volunteers, which means that 100 children that needed a break didn’t get one.

“We want to change that for Kids’ Camp’s 50th anniversary and that is why we have invited leading Derby and Derbyshire businesses to camp, in the hope that they will support us in 2023 by providing volunteers.

“It’s great for leadership, team development and purpose plus, if you hear the incredible, heartfelt challenges that these children have had to overcome, it’s an irresistible grassroots project that is hard to turn down!

“Through Cosy as patrons we provide the land, storage, volunteers, weekly board games, monthly support on strategy and, as a company, we fill any gap that comes up with brains, brawn or cash.

“Cosy are proud to support this incredible charity.”

Run entirely by an army of 160-plus volunteers, a typical week at Derby Kids’ Camp gives them the chance to try out new activities, explore new surroundings and enjoy being a child. They take part in various activities such as cave climbing and swimming.

Children stay in cosy tents that are equipped with comfortable camp beds, complete with bouncy mattresses, snuggly duvets and blankets, and the site has a fully-equipped kitchen with electricity and running water.

Chairman Chris Edwards said:

“Our holidays help to build children’s confidence and their independence but, more importantly, the children leave with lifelong memories of an amazing and much-needed holiday.

“The camp is set in the beautiful Peak District and we have people – like ‘Animal Man’ – who come back year after year.”

The charity has seen demand for places increase for 2022 following the challenges of the past few years and increasing numbers of families struggling financially and with mental health issues. They have also seen an increase in children requiring additional support and, to cater for this, volunteers have created a ‘sensory tent’.

Derby Kids’ Camp is currently appealing for volunteers for 2023.

Chris added: “We were seeing increasing demand for the holidays before Covid hit, and we’re expecting this to grow even more as families feel the pinch due to the rising cost of living.

“We rely solely on volunteers and it would be great to see new faces at camp in 2023.”

To express an interest in becoming a Derby Kids’ Camp volunteer, visit derbykidscamp.co.uk/keep-updated

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