CHICKS Well-Being breaks
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. CHICKS frequently receive referrals for children who are…Read more
Last year, CHICKS gave more than 700 children living in some of the UK's most desperately difficult circumstances the chance for a break; time to be free from the routine of everyday life, to relax, explore, smile and have fun. Afterwards, they left our retreats with an album full of happy memories to carry through life with them.
"We didn't realise we were making memories," said Winnie the Pooh, "we just thought we were having fun."
14-year-old Danny* cares for his mother, who is in a wheel chair, and his young sister. This huge responsibility means he misses out on many things for a child of his age. Danny’s social worker referred him to CHICKS for a break. One of the leaders said “His positive experience and energy had a wonderful impact on those who felt nervous. His confidence soared through the week.” Danny said “I loved my time at the beach as well as rock-climbing and football and the leaders were funny, kind and friendly and my time at CHICKS was a really fun and good experience”.
11-year-old Callum* has had a troubling childhood. From a young age he witnessed domestic violence in the home, was exposed to his mother’s substance abuse and suffered from neglect. He now lives with his grandmother but, with six other children in the family home, life can be chaotic. Callum was referred to CHICKS so that he could enjoy some much-needed respite from his difficult home situation. He thoroughly enjoyed his week at CHICKS and made the most of every opportunity. It was his birthday on the Monday and he was delighted to receive a ‘birthday boy’ badge, cake and presents. He loved going swimming, grinning from ear to ear and naming this as his favourite activity because, “it was the best!”. Callum really flourished during his CHICKS break, visibly growing in confidence and telling the group how much he had enjoyed himself and how they had become a ‘family’.
Maddie* is 14 and until a few years ago she had lived with her mother. However her mother struggled with mental health problems and so Maddie moved in with her elderly grandparents, whom she now cares for. Earlier this year, Maddie’s mother sadly took her own life, leaving Maddie devastated and unable to say goodbye. When Maddie arrived at CHICKS, she was visibly excited. She said, “I really enjoyed horse-riding because it showed who everyone really is.” One of the leaders said “by the end of the week Maddie was much more relaxed and clearly happier”. We hope to ask Maddie back at CHICKS again next year.
Annie*, who is 13, lives with her single mother and two sisters; one of whom is a baby. Annie’s mother has mental health issues and epilepsy. Her father is rarely around and is a drug user. The family have been on benefits for the whole of Annie’s life and she’s never had a holiday apart from a CHICKS break. Annie spends most of her spare time looking after her sisters and mother. She has suffered bullying at school and she desperately needed some time away from her stressful home situation. On her most recent CHICKS break she was described as being “a pleasure to have on the break – respectful and friendly”. She mixed well and took part in all the activities. She really enjoyed the opportunity to experience a holiday such as most children have every year, free from responsibility and in the care of concerned adults.
To help more children like Danny, Callum, Maddie and Annie experience a break at CHICKS in 2019, please make a donation today.
*Names have been changed to protect these young people's identities