Tuesday 22nd May, 2018

Romsey Mill Summer Appeal

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Everyone needs a break

Romsey Mill has launched a special Summer Appeal to help provide a series of enjoyable activities for young people and families who won't be having a break this summer holiday.

Many of the families and young people that Romsey Mill works with will not be having a break this summer - they won’t be going away on holiday, or even be looking forward to any special days out.

We believe that everyone needs a break! So, throughout the summer, the Romsey Mill team has organised a series of enjoyable activities and fun days out for hundreds of the local children and families we support throughout the year.

The majority of these trips and activities are unfunded, but the team at Romsey Mill is committed to providing fun activities for people who can’t afford a break in the summer, or who find the holidays a time of increased isolation and disadvantage.

The Government recently announced a research project into the issue of ‘holiday hunger’ to explore how best to help the most disadvantaged children to benefit from healthy meals and enriching activities during the school holidays.

This summer, Romsey Mill’s team has put together a programme of over 30 different activities, day trips, and residential trips. The types of trip and activity vary according to the interests of the respective groups of young people and families.

The intention behind arranging all of these activities is to make the summer a special time, for everyone.

Mike Farrington, the Youth Development Team Coordinator at Romsey Mill said: “For many of the young people we work with, the summer break is a time when the lack of structure and focussed activity can have a negative impact and connotations. Their self-esteem and mental and emotional wellbeing can be particularly low, if they don’t have anything to look forward to. So, we like to organise special trips to do exciting activities like trampolining or climbing; visit places like Adrenaline Alley Scooter Park and The Gauntlet scrambling bike centre; or create opportunities for them to make music and get involved in art workshops.”

Mike said: “The result is that they have something enjoyable to look forward to, beforehand; and then, afterwards, they have positive memories that last. These experiences can often be a catalyst to positive change and transformation in young peoples’ lives.”

There is a lot of existing research about the challenges that families and young people face during the summer months. Children from low income families are most at risk of ‘learning loss’ during the summer holidays, which impacts on their educational attainment, because of the differences in holiday experiences and activities of children from high-income families.

The NSPCC has reported that family relationships are under increased strain during the summer holidays. More children call the NSPCC’s Childline during July and August than any other time of the year, as tensions increase in the home and children become more worried and anxious.

Research by the National Citizen Service has also revealed more than half of teenagers feel isolated during their time off from school, with a quarter saying the holidays are their loneliest time of the entire year, rising to 29% among girls.

Other studies show that parents in low income families find it harder to make ends meet during the summer holidays compared with term-time, with 93% of low income parents skipping at least one meal a day to make sure their children are fed.

Romsey Mill’s Young Parents Programme team have arranged a number of trips out for the parents they work with and their children, including days out to the seaside and the zoo, and special play sessions.

However, the highlight for some of the young mums is a special afternoon tea, at The Gonville Hotel, which is just for the mums themselves, away from their children. Here are quotes from two teenage mums who took part last year:

One mum said: “When I attended the afternoon tea last year it was absolutely lovely, it was nice to relax and get to know new people. The atmosphere was so chilled and I had the best time, especially the brownies and salmon sandwiches!”

Another young mum said: ”The afternoon tea was the first thing I really did for myself after having a baby. Even though it was scary having 'time off' it was great to have a laugh and feel like my old self again. You can lose that a bit when you become a parent. It felt really good having a treat and just enjoying lovely food and company without worrying about anything else.”

In addition to the trips out, some of our regular weekly activities will continue to run for an extended period into the summer holidays.

Ruth Watt, who coordinates the work of the Aspire team, that works with children and young people with autistic spectrum conditions, explains: “We always run a special residential trip for the older teenagers who are part of Aspire Plus, which helps them to learn vital social skills in a safe setting, to prepare them for independent adult life.”

Ruth added: “However, holidays can be a particularly challenging time for children with autism, who find change in routines to be very disturbing and unsettling. Therefore, we are going to continue to run some of our Aspire groups for additional weeks in the summer holidays, so that the children can still look forward to something that they know and love, and where they will feel safe to be themselves.”

Romsey Mill’s Pre-School is also looking forward to a special family fun day trip to Denny Abbey, which was a big success last year.

Yvonne Burke, Pre-School Coordinator said: ”We have a lovely morning with our Pre-School community of children and parents, spending time together doing activities the children love, like pond dipping, playing on toy tractors and learning how to milk a pretend ‘cow’.”

“It’s a real family trip and it was great to see so many families from such a wide range of backgrounds getting on so well with each other, sharing picnics and have fun together.

By arranging a summer programme of fun, active, enjoyable and memorable activities, Romsey Mill wants to make this Summertime Special for all!

If you want to support our Summer Appeal to help give eveyone we work with a break, you can donate:

ONLINE: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/romseymill/breaks

TEXT GIVING: send a text to 70070 with the words MILL18 plus the amount you want to donate

BY CHEQUE: Payable to Romsey Mill, sent to us at Romsey Mill, Hemingford Road, Cambridge CB1 3BZ

or contact our Fundraising Team on 01223 566492.