The 2022 St John’s School Community Holiday took place from 20-27 August, welcoming children with disabilities aged 10-18, to participate in a residential stay at St John’s for a jam-packed week of activities and fun!
Many of the participants, both children and volunteers, have enjoyed previous community holidays at St John’s. We were delighted to welcome 21 children this year who were warmly cared for by 43 present and former pupils, together with some external staff, all of whom are volunteers.
Prior to the holiday, pupils and St John’s staff completed training and fundraising. Taking place at St John’s School and making use of the School’s boarding houses, the holiday allows parents and carers a week of much-needed respite safe in the knowledge that their children are being fully cared for, supported and having a fantastic time. The St John’s community enjoy offering support in many ways, from driving minibuses to joining in the much-loved fancy dress sing-a-longs.
Together they enjoyed events that ranged from playground games, a visit from a magician, a visiting petting zoo, and a balloon-twisting workshop. The week was filled with fun and adventure from horse-riding to fairground rides at Littlehampton and bigger rides at Chessington World of Adventures.
The children’s parents appreciate the social opportunities the holiday offers, as well as the respite they gain. One parent wrote that her son ‘has the best time and keeps gazing at all the photos and the holiday journal’. Another wrote that her daughter ‘absolutely loves the people, the activities, the independence from us’.
The staff who care for the children also find the experience wholly worthwhile, with a new helper stating that it was one of the ‘best weeks of her life’ and that she hopes to return next year.
During the week, the School community were invited to attend a visitors evening – comprising of a fashion show and sing-song. When asked what they took away from their visit, these were some of the answers that truly sum up the heart of the Community Holiday:
A great evening, loved the show. Hands still hurt from clapping!
What an amazing, joyful and magical experience
Joy, love, friendship, trust
Wonderful to see the holiday makers so confident and happy
What a fantastic evening – full of love and happiness
Watching the children so proud of themselves in the fashion show. Was very special
An outstanding evening and programme to support disabled children. The enthusiasm, energy and fun of both helpers and the young people was totally infections. Well done, and keep it going!