Untitled design (28)

Camp goes off with a BANG

Thanks to a new partnership, families in the Borders whose children have additional needs have recently benefited from a much-needed summer respite camp.

Local charity, Live Borders and Borders Additional Needs Group SCIO – ‘BANG’ – ran the summer camp one day a week for five weeks at the Leader Valley School in Earlston.

After a small three-day camp last year, BANG and Live Borders worked together to make a bigger, better more inclusive respite camp. The camp was made possible with £3,000 from Cash for Kids and £1,200 from Tesco ‘Bags for Life’ campaign.

Following the success of the camp, all parties are hopeful of being able to extend the programme throughout 2020.

Pauline Charles from BANG told us:

“Throughout my years of experience, I never expected the camp to be as good as this. We’ve had 310 people through our doors and over 50 children. We have young carers, parent carers, siblings, grandparents, foster carers – it’s been overwhelming.

“Live Borders staff and BANG will evaluate this project, look at worked well, and what we can improve and start to redesign 2020’s respite camp.

“Parents have been asking for Easter, Summer and October camps. I’m working now with another charity to develop a bigger project next year.

“We were very privileged to be able to use Leader Valley School and that’s down to the relationship with SBC. The environment and the school ‘make’ the project. It provides a safe environment.”

Sports Development Manager from Live Borders, John McBay said:

“It’s the first camp like this we have ever done, we did this in partnership with BANG and came in to create the perfect sport, art and health environment. It has been great for everybody and we have learnt a great amount.

“It’s been a challenging project. It’s been action-packed for the children, but above all, it’s been about fun and the children feeling very safe.

“The parents are the critical bit; they often get missed in families where additional needs are required. We have to make sure that Mum and Dad have the opportunity just to chill out and relax.

“The parents have all got together and been chatting and thought this has been a great outlet for them. They have all learnt from each other about some of the challenges they face at home and different copping strategies.

“We would love to do this on a more regular basis and not just the holidays.”

Activities and Programming Development Officer from Live Borders, Becki Hodgson told us:

“For families with children with additional needs, the summer can be quite an isolating time, so it’s really important that there are regular sessions available.

“It’s an opportunity for families to have some fun and relaxation time. Everyone has been making new friends and working with other families and trying new things together.

“We’ve tried to keep things quite consistent each week, so when the children turn up, they know exactly what to expect – it is reassuring for them.”

For more information on BANG and any future activities, please visit www.bordersadditionalneeds.org.