Resources are now available for the District Children’s Holiday Sunday planned for 7th May 2017. Some of these links will download the file, others will take you to Dropbox due to the size of the file.
The District has been providing a holiday for children for the last 53 years. The first holiday took place in Wales and the last 52 have been in Bideford, North Devon, resulting in the nickname ‘The Bideford Holiday’. Each year we aim to take 35 – 40 children and 16 -18 leaders for a fun filled beach and activity holiday based in the residential houses of Kingsley School, Bideford. We eat and sleep at the school but for most of the day we are out and about transported by a local coach firm. We have a varied programme that takes advantage of the local beaches, walks, activity centres and theme parks. We use the school grounds for sports and if the weather is good a barbecue!
The children are nominated through local schools, young carer groups, and sometimes churches. We would like to widen our nominations into Stafford and Dudley so if any of you have contacts with schools it would be good to introduce the holiday to them. The criteria for nominations is flexible but the child has to be from Year 6 or 7 and they can only attend the holiday once. The children must have a ‘need’ such as caring for a sibling or parent, living in a home where poverty is known, being one of many siblings suffering from lack of attention, struggling at school through lack of confidence, suffering from a recent close bereavement or living in a situation that the school know is having an adverse affect on the child. We have built up good relationships with schools and we trust their decisions and discussions take place if there are any queries and we as a team think the child’s problems are beyond our capabilities. We ask for 2-3 children from each school so that all the children will know at least one other person.
Once the nomination forms have been received all of the children are visited at home. This gives us the opportunity to meet the family, explain who we are and answer all the questions that they may have about the week’s holiday. We check medical conditions, allergies, swimming abilities and leave a kit list and information sheet. Parent/carers are asked to bring their child to the pick-up points in Wolverhampton and Dudley and then the week begins! We sometimes need to enlist drivers from local churches to help with transport to and from the coach stops where families have difficult issues.
The holiday team meets regularly throughout the year. We review the last holiday and suggest changes and improvements making sure our risk assessments are up to date with changing situations. We record any equipment that needs replacing and in the new year purchases are made. Activities are booked and nomination forms are sent out. DBS forms are checked and updated and safeguarding training put in place. Our finances are checked and fund raising begins. In recent years we have been fortunate to receive some funding from Children in Need and have successfully applied to several smaller funding charities. New funding is always being sought in addition to the many donations from churches from within the district. We rely on these to keep the bank balance looking healthy! It costs approximately £12.500 for the holiday at the present time. We spend less if the weather is good because ice-creams are a lot less expensive than if the weather is very wet and we have to pay cinema and bowling entrances. Each year differs slightly because of various reductions or increases.
The holiday has a theme and the activities in the evening reflect this. The leaders take it in turns with the Minister to have a ‘reflective and thoughtful’ end to the day. We have been really fortunate that Rev. Gill Daniel has been able to come with us for the week and this adds a richness to the holiday, for the team as well as the children. It’s a challenge each year as so many of the children know nothing about the Christian faith.
We have a dedicated and experienced ‘core’ of leaders (we are short of male leaders) but we are always glad for new people to join us. If you are 18 or over and have plenty of enthusiasm and energy to spare a week at the end of July/August 2017 we would like to hear from you. Please contact me and I can give you more details.
Members of the team are always happy to come and share ‘the holiday’ with you at your church, please get in touch. More information can be obtained from Tricia Prescott 01902 746316 firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to make a donation towards the holiday cheques need to be paid to Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District and sent to the District Office at Beckminster Methodist Church, Birches Barn Road, Penn Fields, Wolverhampton, WV3 7BQ, please mark it as for the District Children’s Holiday. If you would like to gift aid your donation forms can be found here Gift Aid Declaration
Thank you all for your support for this very worthwhile activity.
If you would like to make a Donation to the Children’s Holiday and are a UK Tax Payer please use the Gift Aid Declaration