Back in December 2016, we began our Book a Break, Give a Break campaign in aid of Go Beyond (formerly CHICKS) – a national children’s charity providing free respite breaks to disadvantaged children from all over the UK. Many of them are victims of abuse, bullying, live in poverty, or have been bereaved. So often, these holidays are the first time they’ll feel sand between their toes or have a chance to freely splash around in the sea.
For every booking made by January 31st 2017, we made a donation to the charity, raising a whopping £21,686 in total. This surpassed our goal of £15,000, which was the amount needed to cover the cost of a week’s retreat for 16 children.
Our Co-Founders Oliver and Ravi, alongside a few members of the team, made the trip down to Moorland, Devon for one of the Easter breaks. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Dartmoor, Moorland is also home to Go Beyond’s head office.
We were then greeted by Jenny, the Development Manager, who took us on a tour of the facilities. The grounds offer a wonderful haven for kids to escape from any stresses, to make new friends and create memories they’ll treasure for life.
Jenny took us around the play barn, which has two trampolines, a maze, and lots of games for the kids to get stuck into. There’s also an indoor sports barn – perfect for rainy days – and a games room stacked with snooker tables, ping pong and even air hockey.
After the tour, it was time to meet the kids and have lunch together. They were all so loving, friendly and upbeat, but most of all, they were raving about how much fun they were having. They then let slip they had spent the morning making us Easter nests – which we all happily polished off for dessert.
Great chills quickly filled the air when one of the leaders announced it was time for FREE PLAY. Even though it’s been years since we last enjoyed playtime, we couldn’t help but share the same excitement. The kids eagerly broke off, with some playing football, others jumping on the trampoline, and more engaging in an intense game of snooker.
Free play adventures
It was safe to say we all had a blast, but the fun was far from over. Each week is specifically tailored to fit the needs of that group, but they’ll always be packed with adventure, creativity and relaxation. Horse riding was on the agenda for that afternoon, and many had never seen a horse before, let alone had the chance to ride one.
We travelled 10 minutes down the road to Dartmoor and watched as the kids mounted their horses/ponies. Nothing could wipe away those smiling faces.
It was then time for us to say goodbye, while Felix, our Marketing Exec, volunteered to stay for the remainder of the week.
Speaking of his time at Go Beyond he said, “Through Go Beyond we created memories that both volunteers and children will hold onto forever! I’ve never seen kids smile so much in my life. I’m certain this experience will have a huge impact in these kid’s lives and will shape them up to be great footballers, professionals and parents one day!”
On our way home, we shared stories and funny anecdotes from the day with each other. We got to witness first-hand how a Go Beyond Retreat has such a positive impact on these children – something we will always be grateful to have been a part of.
If you know a child aged 8-15 who could benefit from a Go Beyond break, refer them! Whether they’re living in poverty, young carers, or subject to abuse that causes them to have a hard time at home, Go Beyond is here to help. All you need to do is complete the referral form and you could make a massive difference!