Thanks to a new partnership, families in the Borders whose children have additional needs have benefitted from a summer respite camp.
Charity Live Borders and BANG (Borders Additional Needs Group) ran the 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. This was made possible with £3,000 from Cash for Kids and £1,200 from Tesco ‘Bags for Life’ campaign.
Following the success of the 2019 camp, all parties are hopeful of being able to extend the programme throughout 2020.
Pauline Charles, from BANG, said: “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. Parents have been asking for Easter, summer and October camps.”
John McBay, Live Borders’ sports development manager, 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.”
Becki Hodgson, activities and programming development officer from Live Borders, commented: “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.”
For more information on BANG and any future activities, visit www.bordersadditionalneeds.org.