At the end of August three boys and staff from Avocet House embarked on the long trip to northern Scotland. To break the journey, three nights were spent on a campsite in Northumberland, and on the way there a visit was made to the Angel of the North. One of the boys is a big fan of Harry Potter so a trip to Alnwick Castle was essential while in the area. Keeping with the historical theme, trips were also made to Bamburgh Castle and a Roman fort at Hadrian’s Wall.
After a lovely time spent in Northumberland, the next leg of the journey was all the way to John O’ Groats. From this point various campsites were stayed at and trips were made to the beautiful Sandwood Bay Beach (which involved hiking a total of 9 miles), rock pooling, Glenfinnan viaduct (also made famous in the Harry Potter movies), waterfalls and Loch Ness.
Four Angels of the North!
While everyone back in Norfolk was tolerating mediocre weather, the travellers experienced fantastic weather, which helped to make the holiday so enjoyable. This was the first time any of the boys had visited Scotland and a fabulous time was had by all!
We held our annual Charity Football Match in July on a beautiful sunny day at the Beccles Football Club. We had an amazing turn out, consisting of our current SES community as well as welcoming back young people who had previously lived with us, along with former colleagues. We played 11-a-side, mixing adults with young people, and saw some excellent football throughout. The match was played in very good spirits with a finishing score of 7-4.
Following the match there was a celebratory BBQ, which gave everyone a chance to catch up with each other. Alongside this we held a raffle, which included amazing prizes such as Amazon vouches, Bluetooth headphones and a signed Norwich City T-Shirt.
We managed to raise an amazing £1000 for our local charity, Leeway, which is a Norfolk based charity supporting victims of domestic abuse. We had a significant financial donation to our event this year from Vita Health Group, for which we are extremely grateful.
It was a huge success, not only for our chosen charity, but also for the adults and young people forming the community at SES.
At the beginning of August SES attended a jobs fair at The Forum in the centre of Norwich. There were plenty of other companies there and an abundance of information for the many visitors who wanted to learn more about their recruitment options.
We loved chatting to people about the work we do and we had our eyes peeled for potential candidates with warmth, humour and the welfare of children at the forefront of their minds.
It felt like a successful day and we may well be back at the next jobs fair at the same location in November 2021.
Attitude 2021 was the third, and by far the biggest, camping festival at SES to date.
The weather was superb and the mix of activities seemed to work really well, with something for all the young people. Everyone had a fantastic time with plenty of things to get involved in, such as; live music, Forest School activities, festival make-up, crafts, drumming and a bouncy castle. There was a plenty of food available and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the barbecue out in the sunshine.
To have all the young people from Avocet House, Turnstone House and Tower Hill taking part was a real achievement, resulting in a total of 21 tents pitched on the field.
One of the young people from Turnstone House decided to embark on an adventure in North Norfolk, with the goal to walk the entire North Norfolk Coastal Path.
The challenge was set over four (very hot) days in June with two members of staff opting to go with him. Some stretches were a challenge in the heat, carrying all the gear and trudging over shingle beaches, but he persevered and completed the mission!
Several of our young people and staff went on a residential trip to Derbyshire in May. Many of the young people overcame personal fears and worked really well together, offering support to each other when needed.
Everyone showed patience and resilience and had a fun time entering into all the activities, which included; travelling on cable cars up the Heights of Abraham, exploring caves at the top of the Heights, visiting Castleton and Buxton, swimming, climbing Mam Tor, day trip to Alton Towers, hill-walking, arts and crafts.
Despite some extreme weather conditions we have continued to grow vegetables in the poly tunnel. Kale, cauliflower, carrots, herbs and onions have all been harvested and used for meals in the house.
We have been busy planting trees and have so far planted 30 of the 100 we received, including wild cherry, oak, field maple, rowan, apple, hawthorn, dogwood and elder.
Following all the hard work in the garden work last year, we won the Level 4 RHS Schools Garden Award and will be rewarded with £150 worth of plug plants in April. These will include lots more vegetables, salad plants and fruit.
At the beginning of September several of the adults and young people set off on a mission to complete a 1km assault course in the woods. After a practice run it got competitive with everyone racing against each other!
Despite the effort required, everyone had a fun, muddy, action-packed day with hopes to return to conquer the high ropes next time………
The second on-site camping festival was held at Turnstone House this year. All the young people and five adults successfully pitched their own tents (and kept them fantastically neat!), then camped out for three days, wearing the specially designed festival merchandise!
A larger event had been planned for this year and was to include live bands, but due to the current situation the adults had to be a bit more creative. Activities included a drumming workshop, badminton, football, a ‘kidnap’ team challenge and a magic workshop.
As you would expect, there was plenty of cooking on the camp fire! Everyone joined in with all the activities and helped with any tasks required, resulting in a great, fun time for everyone involved!