Young people in south west London are getting ready for a summer packed with activities thanks to a popular camp staffed by Met Police officers.
The Summer Camp provides a four-week programme for children aged between nine and 16 who live or go to school in Wandsworth, Merton, Kingston, Richmond or Twickenham.
The camp comes under the umbrella of the Parallel Youth Enterprise (PYE), a not for profit organisation and charity who raise the funds and do the year-round preparation ready for the camps to be managed and run by youth engagement and schools officers from within South West Command Unit, which incorporates the boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Kingston, Richmond.
The pandemic means this year’s camp looks a little different and will see places limited to 70, broken down into seven bubbles of ten, each led by their own staff team.
Safety measures including temperature checks, PPE and regular sanitising of hands and equipment will also all be in place.
The children will have the opportunity to take part in activities at its St Cecilia’s School base including music, dance, arts and crafts and circus skills. They will also visit adventure centres and Aqua Sports as well as taking part in rock climbing, sailing, canoeing and mini golf.
PC Louise Dann who manages the camp, said: “The last few months have been difficult for everyone and for a long time we were very unsure whether we would be able to go ahead with Wandsworth Summer Camp this year.
“We were determined to do so as long as it was safe and we are confident that all the extra measures we have put in place mean this is the case.
“This year more than ever our young people need a safe space to get active and to socialise with new people, and the fact we received such a high number of applications made this even more obvious. We wish we could welcome everyone who wanted to come but hopefully those who weren’t able to make it this year will have another opportunity in the future.”
The camp aims to give young people who would not necessarily have the chance to enjoy such activities the opportunity to do so, while also helping them to keep fit, active and be supported during the summer months.
Giving them the chance to interact with officers in a different environment also helps foster stronger relationships with police which last well beyond the length of the project.
Rachel Bright, a trustee from Parallel Youth Enterprise, said: “We know these camps can be a lifeline for both parents and children and we are delighted to be able to provide another great programme of activities this year with many added precautions in place.
“The Wandsworth camp is now in its third year and going from strength to strength, but it has a long way to go before it catches up to its sister camps in Lambeth which have been running for over 30 years! The camps show the value of partnerships across communities, and we know they make a huge difference to the lives of those young people that are able to attend.”
Both Wandsworth and Lambeth Summer Camps are closed for applications this year.