A day at an Over the Wall children's camp

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Lisa Hammerton
Over the WallAt Simplyhealth we have the opportunity to take part in what we call 'Community Days'*. These are paid days out of the office to help within our communities. 

Two employees from Simplyhealth recently visited a charity called Over the Wall. Paul Butler provides an account of the day:

My colleague Richard and I recently went to a children's camp run by a charity called Over the Wall; a Hampshire based charity that provides camps (free of charge) to help children with life threatening or limiting illnesses and their families. 

As an organisation we recently gave £68,065 to fund a Volunteer Co-ordinator for three years to help facilitate the camps and this was our chance as volunteers to go along and help with the charity.

Over the Wall have camps located in the south (Dorset & Kent) the Midlands (Staffordshire & Shropshire) and Scotland (Perthshire and Fife.) and they aim to provide:

  • A method for children to experience some independence away from home 
  • Respite for parents who are full time carers and who also spend considerable time in hospital with their children
  • Grow their confidence so they can have similar experiences to children who don't have an illness
  • To have fun!

Over the wallFor our visit we went to Bryanston School, near Blandford, Dorset where the children would be staying for a week.  There was a variety of activities going on throughout the week varying from archery, rock climbing to pottery.  On the day we volunteered, the children were doing arts and crafts, wood work and a drama workshop. It was really inspiring to see their faces all lit up with excitement!

The camp was run by five permanent and 24 temporary staff members. There were also a staggering 77 volunteers looking after the children and organising what was a really busy schedule for the children.

Of the volunteers, ten were medical staff.  The staff and volunteers have to cover up to 150 different illnesses so the fact that these events run so smoothly is testament to their hard work and planning.

Most of the 56 children we saw had one of a range of life threatening illnesses, three of which had severe anaphylaxis (extreme allergic reactions).

We met Anna Wilson, the full time Volunteering Co-ordinator that Simplyhealth has funded.  She personally came over and thanked us for giving her the role which was lovely.

It was a really great day, humbling but really inspiring to see how the lives of people with such needs can be made better. It was an amazing atmosphere and a pleasure to see so many children having a good time.

Thank you Over the Wall for giving Richard and I the opportunity to visit the camp for the day. It's really good to know Simplyhealth supports this and other charities and that's one of the reasons why I think it's a great place to work."

If you'd like to get involved, donate or if you know someone that might benefit from Over the Wall, visit their website.

*At Simplyhealth we offer 250 Community Days to our employees each year and as an organisation give over £1 million to health related charitable causes each year.