Red Hen families visit Shepreth Wildlife Park
Red Hen’s summer outing is one of the highlights of our year and we were not going to let Covid-19 stop us giving families a much-needed day out.
Giving people an opportunity to not just get out of the house, but to explore beyond Cambridge provided a vital break and a chance to make shared memories. But it was even more important this year because many of the families who took part had not been out since the start of lockdown.
Sarah Crick, Red Hen’s Project Lead, said: “Last year more than 70% of the families reported it would be their only opportunity to get out of Cambridge that summer – for a variety of reasons.”
“For some families, poverty prevents them taking part in other trips organised locally. But also social isolation, anxiety and other complex mental health issues mean children are often unable to experience anything of life outside their postcode. We work closely with those families in the months leading up to the summer to encourage and prepare them.”
In previous years, we have booked coaches to take people out for the day but that wasn’t going to be an option this time. Step forward The Leys school with their minibuses and two drivers who shuttled families travelling in individual bubbles from Cambridge to the zoo and back. In total we gave 110 people an experience they would not have had otherwise.
Edward Durrant, from The Leys, said: “When Sarah mentioned that all of the usual Red Hen summer trips had been cancelled due to the Covid 19 virus, we were delighted to be able to help provide transport with the School minibuses.
“A lot of time was spent making sure that the trips were Covid-safe, transporting family bubbles separately and sanitising vehicles between trips, but this was all worth it to hear the excited children on the way to Shepreth, as well as the families smiling faces on the way home. The Red Hen Project carry out such vital work and it was a privilege for us and The Leys to be involved.”
Sally Willers, Operations Manager at Shepreth Wildlife Park, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Red Hen Project to Shepreth Wildlife Park over the summer. It was wonderful to see families out enjoying themselves again after the lockdown earlier this year.”
The summer outing was supported by a Cambridge City Council Area Grant.
Sarah said: “The families hadn’t been out since March and were really nervous. One had two teenagers girls, it did them the world of good to go out and see that it was ok. The families really enjoyed themselves.
“It happened to fall on the hottest days of the year, which wasn’t ideal, but everyone had a good time.
“We were able to do this thanks to the city council’s area grant and a very kind lady who gave us £500 both this and last year. We’re very grateful to them for enabling us to give families a day out to make memories and spend quality time together in such a difficult year.
“Our heartfelt thanks to The Leys for making this possible. The staff at Shepreth were fantastic!”