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Lent Appeal 2007  

This year we're supporting two charities:

  • CHICKS (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids), which provides disadvantaged children from all over the UK with FREE respite breaks in the countryside, regardless of race and religion.

  • CHUMS which supports bereaved children and families in Bedfordshire following the death of someone special in their lives.

CHICKS

Since CHICKS began in 1992, over 4,500 children, aged between 8 and 16 have enjoyed a week long break, away from the stresses of their day to day lives, at one of their centres in Devon and Cornwall. CHICKS has grown from helping just 25 children in its first year (under canvas) to over 600 children each year.

CHICKS aims to help 1000 children a year by 2010. To do this the charity needs to increase its level of income from the present 600,000 a year to around 1,000,000 a year. 

Every year CHICKS has hundreds of children on its ever expanding waiting list and the charity requires a minimum of 228 adult volunteers each year to help provide the children with their holiday of a lifetime.

CHICKS helps as many as it can including children who:

  • Are young carers and who spend much of their childhoods looking after sick or disabled parents or siblings. These children are old beyond their years and often have huge responsibilities.

  • Are growing up in poor, inner city areas.

  • Have parent(s) are in prison..

  • Have been abused - physically, emotionally or sexually.

  • Have parent(s) with addictions or mental health issues. 

  • Have conditions such as Aspergers or Autism.

  • Are excluded or isolated.

  • Are from Refuges. 

  • Have witnessed domestic violence.

  • Live in care and so on.

It's a growing problem as almost 1 in 4 children in the UK live below the poverty line. 

Every week 16 children (8 girls and 8 boys) from different backgrounds and from different parts of the country come to CHICKS for a week of fun and adventure. 

During their stay the children take part in many new and exciting activities such as cycling, pony trekking, body boarding, swimming, rock climbing, abseiling and trips to the beach and theatre. In quieter moments the children also enjoy face painting, reading, playing board games or making use of our art and crafts corner. The weeks are designed to encourage potential and improve confidence, whilst most importantly, being fun.

To ensure that as much care, attention and encouragement is given to the children throughout the week as possible, at least four adult volunteers (3 x female and 3 x male) are recruited on each camp, alongside the three qualified supervisors to maintain a high adult to child ratio of 1:2. All volunteers require a minimum of two references and are police checked before they are eligible to become a volunteer on a CHICKS break.

At the end of each week, every child receives:

  • A certificate of achievement, 
  • Compilation sheets of photographs of their time at CHICKS,
  • A goody bag to take home with them. 

All of this acts as important memorabilia of their time away and as valuable reminders of the achievements and friends they have made. 

As one referral agent recently stated: 

  • "Clare has the pictures from CHICKS by her bedside and spends every evening before she goes to sleep remembering what she did. It is one of the few positive things she has to hold on to".

 Included in the goody bag is a freepost envelope for the children to use if they wish to write to CHICKS without having to find the address or use a stamp. Many children do this and we are inundated with letters and cards from children each week thanking us for the 'best time ever'!

After the children have returned home, CHICKS keeps in regular contact with the children throughout the year with letter writing and also through Birthday Cards, Christmas Cards and Christmas Presents. The feedback we have received from the children, parents and referral agents, proves that this is a very popular and important part of the service that CHICKS provides.

A complete week's break for 16 children costs 9,632. Your support would mean a great deal to CHICKS and would help us enormously to continue providing children, who desperately need it, with the lifeline and the experience of an important break away.

For further details click to visit the CHICKS website (opens in new window).

CHUMS

CHUMS was created to meet the needs of children and their families in Bedfordshire following the death of someone close, however they may have died.

Although it is a natural part of life, the death of someone close can be a distressing and overwhelming experience for anyone.

Children experience the pain of loss just as much as adults, although their reactions will depend on their age, maturity and understanding of events. Adults often try to protect children from the pain of the loss, perhaps feeling that they are too young to understand, or that talking about the loss will be too distressing.

Experience has shown us that children can gain a great deal from meeting others of their own age who have had similar experiences and, if given the chance to understand events and to express their own feelings, they can learn to adjust to their loss.

Most of the work is carried out by a team of 58 volunteers, who come from all parts of the county.  These volunteers are all trained by CHUMS in loss and grief and how best to support bereaved children and their families. They are a very committed and dedicated team.

For further details click to visit the CHUMS website (opens in new window).

At the end of this year's appeal, the CARE committee donated 550 to CHICKS and 550 CHUMS. 

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Having Fun at CHICKS

 

 

 

Matt - A regular CHICKS volunteer

 

Having Fun at CHICKS

 

 

 

Annual reunion are very popular

Workshops help people to share their experiences