Children's Summer Camps
Providing holidays for disadvantaged local children for 100 yearsthumbnail view
In 1920, the newly formed Rotary Club of Sheffield took 40 boys camping to Bridlington. The group were selected from over 2000 who had lost their fathers during the First World War.
The camp was so successful that the club decided to look for a venue closer to home and for the next 2 years camps were held in the Derwent Valley.
In 1923, a member of the club offered land in Shatton in the Hope Valley. The camp continued here for the next 13 years. However, the site was sloping and had no running water or electricity.
In 1936, 29.5 acres of land was purchased on the outskirts of castleton for £600. An additional £1000 was given by club members to purchase buildings. In 1939 the camp closed for 6 years because of the Second World War. On reopening, additional accommodation was added and wooden bunk rooms replaced tents. The criteria for selecting boys changed. Boys were recommended by schools, Education Welfare Officers and Social Workers.
In 1980 a stone built dormitory block was opened and this meant girls could now be invited to the camps. In 1985 a new dining and kitchen block was added to the site.
Children are now recommended by their schools. The camps are intended for children who would not normally have the opportunity to have a holiday for whatever reason. Holidays are provided free of charge and also give rest bite to carers whether that be single parents, grandparents or extended family members.
Nowadays, camps for 8-11 year olds take place during the first 2 weeks of the school summer holidays. The camps last 5 days and approximately 60-75 children are given a holiday each year. Over 10 000 children have benefitted in the past 100 years!
Currently it costs the club £100/child to give them an action-packed holiday. many activities and visits are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of the owners of attractions within the Castleton area. Activities include on-site games, crafts and competitions, visits to Gulliver's Kingdom and Treak Cliff Cavern.
The holidays are staffed by Rotarians and volunteers who all give their time free of charge. Many volunteers come from Scout groups and use the camp as a voluntary service project towrads their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Many volunteers come back year after year as they have gained so much from the experience themselves.