Havant children’s charity Over The Wall is aiming to break its own records by taking more than 1,200 children with serious illness to camp during 2020.
The charity is inviting Portsmouth families who have children with a health challenge to apply now for 2020’s free residential camps.
Over The Wall’s therapeutic camps are designed to present children with the opportunity to recapture parts of childhood through activities such as kayaking, fishing, dancing, archery, talent shows, discos and more.
Emily Jenkins from Gosport is a camper parent, whose nine-year-old daughter has attended Over The Wall's free camps.
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Olivia has multiple complex life-threatening allergies, so camp was the first time she had ever stayed away from her parents on a residential trip.
Emily said: ‘Camp is the best thing that ever happened for Olivia. It really changed her for the better. It made her understand that she is amazing and special.
‘And it wasn’t just about climbing walls, zip wires and all the different fun activities – for Olivia, it was about being with everyone, making friends, sharing moments and enjoying the social aspect of camp, like sharing a dorm with other children - it literally changed her’
The charity is calling for volunteers to help facilitate the camp, with a predicted 20 per cent increase in the number of volunteers required.
All camps have an onsite medical environment facilitated by trained professionals, so the charity also requires clinical volunteers that are nurses, doctors or other medical professionals.
Kevin Mathieson, charity chief executive, said: ‘In the last few years we have almost doubled the number of places we offer annually to children and families.
‘However, there are an estimated 50,000 children living with serious illness in the UK, most of whom will experience isolation, will lack confidence or simply unable to participate in the activities enjoyed by their peers. Camp is a place that can give back to these children.’
Over The Wall invites applications from UK children aged eight to 17, currently receiving treatment or experiencing health challenges for more than 130 different illnesses. For more information, visit otw.org.uk.