Rotherham United Community Trust (RUCT) have been committed to providing free holiday camps to children across Rotherham for a few years now, with support from Rotherham Healthy Holidays, Rotherham Parents Carers Forum and many more external partners.
Over the winter school holidays RUCT were based at 6 locations across Rotherham, with one of these being Rotherham Leisure Centre. The staff at this camp welcomed 5 teenage boys who all attend SEND schools, all 5 boys have previously attended some RUCT holiday camps and return in every school holiday.
Jonathan Allan, Community Programme Manager, lead of this camp and noticed how all 5 boys have grown and matured over the time they have been coming to RUCT camps. We sat them down to discuss the impact attending the camp has had on them, their journey into adulthood and what they think the camps will help them with in the future.
Ryan, Oliver, Dylan, Kymani and Daanish are all from Rotherham and have left mainstream school to attend a SEND school to suit their learning needs. Oliver was asked about how taking part in RUCT holiday camps have made him feel since attending, “It’s nice because it’s something else to do and I’m not out getting in trouble with my mates. My behaviour is different here, I’m normally naughty but the surroundings here are better. I have been able to learn about cooking and nutrition here, and I want to be a chef when I am older.”
All the boys told us their favourite activities, from swimming to football, but Ryan told us about his new favourite sport ‘Kick Cricket’. “I think its cool that every time I come I have a laugh and a joke with my friends, I like having fun with the staff and playing ‘Kick Cricket’” Ryan highlighted how learning these new games makes him feel independent, as sometimes he can get stressed but the games are fun and he loves catching people out in ‘Kick Cricket’!
Kymani and two of the other boys all attend the same SEND school, but Kymani told us that normally they don’t see each other outside of school. “I feel good because I like to see my friends, and I have also made new friends that I cant wait to see again. I am trying to get some other people I already know to come as well.” Kymani also pointed out how he feels less stressed when at camp and that he can’t wait to come every day because he is so excited, often arriving early.
Rotherham Leisure Centre offers a range of facilities for RUCT to use including their swimming pool, this was the highlight of Dylan’s week. “Normally, I just go on my Xbox and play games when I am at home. But I love going down the slide and jumping into the pool, I have been swimming every day”. Dylan also added that he loves art, and he feels camp allows him to be creative with some of his artwork including the Titanic!
Daanish arrived at the start of the week pretty shy, but Jonny Allan pointed out that by the end of the week Daanish has not stopped smiling. “I like that I have been able to help out with some of the younger ones, my favourite sport is cricket and I want to play sports in the future so I have been able to learn skills over the week.”
All 5 boys have benefited from attending the holiday camps, and have all expressed an interested in volunteering to help as they grow up to learn more about responsibility and independence. The environment that RUCT and Rotherham Leisure Centre provide allows the boys to be themselves, the staff thoroughly have enjoyed watching them blossom and are honoured to be part of their journey.
To find out more about our HAF camps please head to www.RUCT.co.uk or contact Jonny Allan on firstname.lastname@example.org.