Scouts from Cookstown and all over Northern Ireland went on a Halloween trip and developed their skills and confidence, thanks to a grant from Big Lottery Fund.
Mid Ulster District Scout Council received a £7,425 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants roll out of £743,207 to 95 groups across Northern Ireland including £39,733 to five Cookstown area groups. (See full list of awards)
The Cookstown Scouting club used the grant to take 101 children from 17 Cub Scout groups across Northern Ireland on a weekend trip to the south east of England that included a trip to Legoland in Windsor over the Halloween weekend.
The club, which includes boys and girls aged 8 to 11, meets weekly during term time to learn a range of crafts and life skills. They also hold weekend and longer camps, like the Halloween trip, with other groups to allow the young people to put their learning into practice and develop their confidence and social skills.
Club committee member Jean Major said: “For many of the children, the trip was their first time to have a holiday, never mind their first time having a holiday in England.
“The scouts do things for the community throughout the year, like clean-ups in car parks and caring for the environment, inter-generational projects with older people, collecting and delivering Christmas presents to the local women’s refuge as well as fundraisers for local cancer charities, hospitals and even the Lifeboat Appeal at Lough Neagh. It’s important to highlight and recognise the community work these children regularly do, and this trip was a great way to reward them.
“We had an early start in Cookstown on the Friday, and picked up Cubs from all over Northern Ireland for the beginning of their four day adventure. After a long day of travelling, we arrived at the Legoland theme park in Windsor and the children all went straight for the rides, shows and activities. ‘Miniland‘ was a big favourite, which has Lego pieces depicting countries all over the world. Then to top it all there was a brilliant fireworks display on Halloween night.”
“The children were so excited by the whole thing. They kept saying things like ‘Mum won’t believe I did that,’ or wishing they could bring brothers and sisters. This meant so much to the children and their parents.”
Several children had special or complex needs and nurses came on the trip too to help look after them.
One parent said: “Our son was exhausted when he got home but couldn’t wait to tell us all about the trip. We are lucky that you were had nurses on hand to help cope with his illness so that we could let him go. We know that there is no need to worry when they are in your care, and it gave us a welcome break and some special time with our other child. An awareness of my son’s needs meant he was able to experience something we thought might never be possible.”