summer camp trust

SCT News

13 September 2015

The Summer Camps Trust

Information about progress with establishing the Trust and starting its work.

  1. Moves to create a Summer Camps Trust as a new charity began during 2014, following responses to the Campaign for Summer Camps and a widespread feeling that if many more young people could be enabled to take part in well-run residential summer camps it would be of great benefit to them, their families, their schools and the nation in general.
  1. A decision was taken to establish the Trust as a charity run by a board of Trustees. The Trustees have been recruited from (a) the world of outdoor education / adventure activities, and (b) the political establishment, with a view to ensuring the right expertise combined with all-party support for the idea. The Board of Trustees currently consists of the following:
  • Ian Lewis FRSA, convenor of the parliamentary all-party activity group (Chair)
  • Rob Collier, volunteer worker in summer camps
  • Keith Hagon, Chief Executive Christian Camps International
  • Ben Harris, British Council Education Dept.
  • Martin Hudson, recently Chair British Activity Holidays Association
  • Sir Bob Russell, recently Lib Dem MP for Colchester
  • Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, recently Labour MP for Redditch
  • Chris Green MBE (Convenor).

A Conservative politician is being actively sought.

  1. Lord David Ramsbotham GCB, CBE has kindly agreed to be President of the Trust.
  1. The Trust is building up a list of member organisations, who pay an annual subscription to support the Trust’s work. Members receive all papers for meetings of the Trustees, are welcome to attend meetings and to speak, but do not have a vote. It is felt important that the Trust is seen to be a body operating for the national interest rather than a lobby or pressure group on behalf of summer camp operators. The following organisations are currently members:
  • The Active Training and Education Trust (ATE Superweeks)
  • Dalesdown Family Trust
  • Learn and Experience
  • Let Me Play Ltd.
  • National Citizens’ Service
  • Natural England
  • Outward Bound
  • PGL
  • XuK (Cross Keys)
  • Youth Hostels Association.
  1. After some delay charitable status has now been agreed. The Summer Camps Trust is registered charity number 1162580.
  1. A bank account has now been opened, and the Trust is receiving subscriptions from members plus some donations.
  1. Efforts will start at once (i.e. from early September) to secure start-up funding from official and / or grant making Trust sources, in order to appoint a Development Officer early in 2016. This person will set about raising the profile of the Trust and of residential summer camps. He / she will also look at ways of raising a more substantial sum of money, to finance a major national campaign of PR to “change hearts and minds” and encourage many more British parents to look for good summer camps for their children. The aim of such a campaign will be to ensure that no child in the UK is ignorant of the fun and benefits to be had from summer camps, no parent is ignorant of the growth in confidence, social skills and general positive attitudes available to their children, and no school is ignorant of the beneficial effect summer camps could have on the motivation and application of their pupils.
  1. Research may need to be carried out (a) to demonstrate that the many benefits of summer camps anecdotally reported can be proved to be real, and (b) to look at the reasons why so many British parents are currently reluctant to consider residential summer camps for their children.
  1. During the summer of 2015 Trustees have undertaken a programme of visits to summer camps to familiarise themselves with the work being done by a variety of the  operators currently offering well-run residential summer camps. The standard of what we have seen is impressive, as is the real enthusiasm with which the different operators run their holidays.
  1. The Trust will continue to seek more members and supporters, and hopes to get rapidly to a stage where we can begin to make an impact on our national life, and notably on attitudes to summer camps.

(Chris Green, September 2015)