Good news from Roker URC! Holiday club commences for 4th Year

By David Dick Member and Elder at Roker URC

“And so our 4th year of holiday clubs at Roker URC is underway sustained by our Roker Life team and generous funding from Northern Synod, Vision 2020, Rank Organisation Pebbles Fund and Roker URC. The model we have successfully used to deliver holiday clubs calls for specialist sessional staff to deliver group activities, which the funding pays for, well supported by church folk and volunteers associated with our partners Social Chef and Forget me Knot. We are also blessed this year in having Amelia Turner, our youth placement team member, deliver exciting craft based activities. It is well organised thanks largely to Deb Doyle from Forget me Knot.

To date the 33 children who have attended aged 5-11 have cooked pizzas, apple turnovers, produced fresh fruit and ice cream desserts and loved every minute of the experience. The quiet concentration in the kitchen is amazing to experience. The weather has allowed the children to work in the garden, fixing up poles for the sweet peas in the raised beds, and learning about herbs which can be planted. Amelia has worked magic with old plastic milk bottles which have been transformed into a variety of interesting objects. On our first day we were joined by Ali and her African drums which were hugely enjoyed by all the children. She will be back as will a young dance instructor and our fabulous 2 new tents, courtesy of hard work by Deb, will also feature, weather permitting.

Roughly half of our children are from asylum seeker and refugee families through our links with FODI (Friends of the Drop in) and the happy integration of children from a wide variety of backgrounds is one of the most satisfying outcomes of the summer fun for me and others in our team. Every child is fed which is hugely important and also entertained enough to want to come back.

We are fully subscribed for the 6 weeks without any advertising so have 10 more fun exhausting days to experience. Funding this year has been almost all URC generated for which we are truly grateful, especially as Council funding has not been forthcoming this year. We all feel freer to deliver what we believe is right for the children and their parents wherever they come from this year, and have funding to reimburse asylum seeker and refugee families for travel costs from other parts of north Sunderland which is so important.

Faith in action is I believe at work in Roker this summer. We don’t have a religious theme to our activities but I hope that we show by our example that we care and we make welcome any who come to our door. We feed the children and, if they are around at lunchtime, we feed the parents too. That is an essential part of our mission.

Editor’s comment: Congratulations to Roker for their vision, creativity and mission focus!

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