More than 75 families experienced a much-needed day out this summer at either Wicksteed Park or Skylark Maize Maze and Fun farm.
The trips give families experiencing difficulties and challenges a chance to spend fun time together– to enjoy the fresh air and make positive family memories in a safe and supportive environment.
The Red Hen Project’s family workers have supported children and their families in North Cambridge for over 23 years – helping them tackle anything that makes life difficult and prevents the child from thriving at school.
From riding on a steam train, zooming up and down on the rollercoasters, getting soaked on the log flume and water balloon fun, getting lost, and eventually finding the way out of the maize maze and cheering on pigs (yes, pigs in the pig race!) – it was a time to laugh and relax with friends and family, somewhere new.
Red Hen worked closely with north Cambridge primary schools to make sure the families that most need a break at this time are invited. These are experiences that most wouldn’t have been able to do without Red Hen.
Families had a “brilliant day out”, “spending time with each other”, “mixing with others and trying new things”, “just seeing the look on the kid’s faces” and having “fun with friends.”
Many of the families live in difficult situations – perhaps experiencing poverty, fleeing domestic violence, coping with poor physical and mental health. They could be isolated, with no family or little social network.
“It was an absolute privilege to be part of the day and to see everyone enjoying the opportunity to get out of Cambridge for the day. So many talked of ‘freedom’ and the joy of being outdoors. The sounds of delight and laughter from the children are why Red Hen makes sure these trips happen. My children had a fantastic time meeting new people and persuading them (and me) to go on the water ride SEVEN times!” said Jen Rutter, a new Project Worker with Red Hen.
The impact these trips have on families cannot be underestimated. “Our daughter loved every minute – she said she had the best day.” The confidence it brings to parents – “shows I am able to do this on my own” – is in line with Red Hen’s aim to move families who are experiencing times of crisis from dependence to independence – whilst still being part of the Red Hen Family. “I feel less guilty as a mum now they’ve had a lovely day out.”
Red Hen’s Project Lead, Sarah Crick, said, “We are particularly grateful to Cambridge City Council for their generous support of these trips this year, as well as the other organisations and groups who have contributed. It means that we could choose actual ‘attractions’, unlike previous years where we have had to restrict our trips to locations with no additional entry costs.”
“It may seem unbelievable to most people, but many of our families will have never had the opportunity to experience anything like this before. We had children on the trips who have never been outside of Cambridge, sometimes rarely venturing outside their postcode. Attending these days can be a transformational moment for these children and a crucial step for many families on their journey to independence.”
A big Red Hen thank you to:
- All the fun and fantastic Red Hen families who came along and enjoyed themselves in style
- Neals Travel – for enabling us to travel in safe yet comfortable hands
- Cambridge Fruit Company – for the energy replenishing fruit
- The welcoming and friendly staff at Wicksteed Park and Skylark for a wonderful time
Finally, huge thanks to those organisations whose funding enabled these trips to happen
- Cambridge City Council for their community grant
- The super fundraising of St John’s College School Parent Association who chose us as their annual charity in a very challenging year
- Local software company Elica who not only give us free office space but also made a significant donation towards our work, some of which went towards these trips
- Other businesses whose donations have helped make this trip possible Amazon Cambridge, Dassault Systems, Displaylink, John Lewis, Cambs Cuisine, Costello Medical, Coalesce, PwC Cambridge and Kiss Communications
To support our work, please visit www.redhenproject.org/donate
To arrange to talk to Red Hen about your organisation or group helping fund a trip like this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org