50 Years supporting Colomendy Camp

The City of Liverpool Rotary Club celebrated 50 years of partnership with the Merseyside Children's Holiday Fund (MCHF) on 20th May at Colomendy

The City of Liverpool Rotary Club celebrated 50 years of partnership with the Merseyside Children's Holiday Fund (MCHF) on 20th May at Colomendy, Loggerheads, Wales. The MCHF was founded 50 years ago following an idea produced by a member of the original Liverpool Rotary Club, which was also instrumental in setting up the Charity.

The purpose was to provide a week’s holiday for children from disadvantaged areas in the City at the Colomendy Camp at Loggerheads in Wales, then operated by Liverpool City Council.  Members of MCHF would transport the children there, oversee the activities at the camp and organise trips and events outside the camp around North Wales.  These would include a trip to the seaside and local theme park.   The children have over the years been chosen from different areas around the City each year, following the recommendations of the City’s social welfare department and of any charities providing welfare assistance. Between them, they have been the best available to identify the children most in need.  That level of need cannot be overestimated. Some of the children even now arrive without proper footwear and have to have trainers bought for them at the start of the week. Some have never been into the countryside before or even to the seaside.  The age range is mainly primary school age.

MCHF has benefitted from a dedicated group of helpers who spend the week there entirely voluntarily.  They have involved their own adult children as helpers and one of the most encouraging features of the Charity is that quite a few of those children are taking over from their parents to ensure continuity and possibly another 50 years' service.

The City of Liverpool Rotary Club gave financial support each of the 50 years. The present level is £2,500 per year. In 2015, the City of Liverpool Rotary Club won a Rotary District Grant of £650 to support MCHF's holiday activities. In addition the City of Liverpool Rotary Club has provided non-financial support and advice. In particular it was very active  in lobbying the Council with alternative solutions when the Council proposed closing down and selling the Camp about 15 years ago in order to save money.  The result was that the Council changed its mind and decided to lease the Camp to an outside commercial operation for the sole purpose of continuing the camp facilities.

The Club has also arranged continuing financial support from Home Bargains who donate £5,000 per year.  Those two figures provide about half of what MCHF needs each year.  The remaining half is raised by MCHF itself.

The celebratory event on 20th May was enjoyable. Seven Rotarians from our club were shown round the beautiful campsite at Colomendy. It was interesting to see the range of activities available and children enjoying themselves. We met a number of the volunteers. Inspired by one of the low ropes activities, I came away with a new Rotary fundraising idea-- walking backwards on a piece of low rope with a full glass of wine but without spilling it!

Alison Lui

President of City of Liverpool Rotary Club