Nottingham’s Vulnerable Children Given A Lifeline

Daleside Children (1) RS

CHICKS, the national children’s charity, has welcomed its first visitors to its new retreat in the East Midlands and amongst the initial intake was Simon*, 13, from West Bridgford.

‘Daleside’, located in Derbyshire, opened its doors last month to give children, who would otherwise be unable to do so, the chance to enjoy a week’s respite break free from stress and worry. These are children who may be young carers, subject to abuse or living below the poverty line.

Referred to CHICKS by his family support worker, Simon has suffered from a very difficult childhood. His family survive solely on benefits, his father has been in prison for over two years and he lives with his grandmother with limited access to the rest of his family.

Having witnessed domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse and being forced to live in extreme poverty, Simon’s support worker believed that a week away would improve his outlook considerably – and her predictions were accurate.

Daleside Children RSDuring the week at Daleside, Simon immersed himself in the variety of activities the children participated in – including pizza making, assault course running and wall climbing.

Richard Whitehouse, respite break manager at CHICKS, said: “Simon thrived in the active setting and loved taking on new challenges.

“The week has also been extremely good for his self-discipline; at the beginning of the week he could be very impulsive so we introduced targets in a manageable structure. Simon responded well to this praise and encouragement –we find this with lots of the children who visit CHICKS who aren’t used to having one-to-one time with adults who are interested in their thoughts and interests.

“Due to the dedicated time with the break volunteers Simon’s behaviour improved dramatically and we saw a noticeable difference in his demeanour and outlook.”

Simon said: “My favourite part of the break has been playing games and having fun with new friends.”

*name changed to protect identity