Making Memories… Giving Hope

Challenges At Home


Children who come on CHICKS’ breaks come from all sorts of backgrounds and are referred for many reasons. Often a CHICKS break will give them the breathing space they need from their difficult circumstances; the chance to be welcomed into a non-judgmental environment, an environment where they have the chance to be themselves, have fun and make positive memories.

Bethany Dickson is a primary school teacher from Derbyshire who refers children to CHICKS and spoke to us about some of the challenges the young people she refers face in their home lives. She explained: “Our school is located in a ward which has been identified as being within the top 10% for deprivation with the country. Our pupils face many barriers, the most prominent being poverty of experience and language. It has one of the highest percentages of households with lone parents and a high number of these claim working age benefits.” 

Bethany’s ward has one of the highest proportions of households with an annual income under £15,000 and 11.1% of children live in overcrowded households. As a result, many of her pupils suffer from neglect at home.

“At our school, there are a significant number of families and pupils with child protection concerns. On average approximately 34 are logged by staff every month,” she explained, “consequently, physical and emotional abuse is something our pupils experience in their childhood. These pupils face many challenges that mean simple luxuries, others may consider the norm, like having breakfast every morning, are not accessible to them.”

Because of their challenging home lives, many of Bethany’s pupils lack confidence, have attachment issues, or struggle with managing and communicating their emotions. Referring some of her pupils to CHICKS, gives them the opportunity to break down these barriers and equip them with skills and experiences that will prepare them for life beyond their primary years.

“Having an experience away from home allows our pupils to gain confidence,” she says, “build friendships and gives the pupils a literal ‘break’ from their real lives. Ultimately, it allows them to enjoy being children!

“When children are referred, their parents are elated at the opportunity and any worries over cost or provision (e.g. coats, wellies) are alleviated as these are provided by CHICKS.

“CHICKS gives our pupil’s cherished memories, confidence, laughter and most importantly hope. It allows them to be children and experience things that they never have had the opportunity to do in their ‘normal’ life. The CHICKS team really go above and beyond and this is reflected in the pupils’ smiles and stories they bring back from their break!”

If you know a child who faces challenges at home and would benefit from a break at our Derbyshire retreat please get in touch with our Young Person’s Hub by emailing or calling 01822 811020.


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