DRWF in collaboration with children’s charity Over The Wall will present two Camp In The Cloud events in 2021.

DRWF and Over The Wall today announce they will continue to provide free virtual camps in 2021 for children with serious health challenges including diabetes in the UK. The events follow last year’s first Diabetes Wellness Family camp in partnership with Over The Wall. These are one day virtual camps for families with children aged 0-17 diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (one child in the household must be aged 8-17 years). 

Two one-day events are set to be held on

  • 27 March 2021 (open to residents in England only)

  • 16 October 2021 (open to UK residents)

Running from 9:30am to 10:30pm.

To apply to attend the March camp Click Here

To apply to attend the October camp Click Here

The event’s, organised in collaboration with Over The Wall follow the launch of their interactive, online programme- ‘Camp in the Cloud’.

The children’s charity now plans to allow even more children and their families, to access the virtual camp next year for these events with DRWF.

The move to an online format follows the decision to cancel this year’s scheduled residential event during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Camp in the Cloud was launched specifically to address the needs of the children who were scheduled to attend Over The Wall’s residential camps in 2020, with the aim of bringing the magic of camp, directly into their homes. 

The first Over The Wall Camp in the Cloud events held this year involved delivering activity boxes to campers and families right across the UK, with hundreds of children logging on to a bespoke online platform for a fully interactive camp experience. The response to this was incredible with campers and families being able to communicate, participate in activities and feel the joy and magic of Over The Wall camps - from the comfort of their own homes.   

Camps were provided for children who have health challenges, as well as their siblings and their families.

Sarah, a parent of a Camp in the Cloud camper, said: “During Camp in the Cloud, Ariel was on such a high and was really animated and buzzing all the time. The activities were inspired, and so engaging.

“It just felt like an immense amount of thought was put into Camp in the Cloud, and consideration of the kids was right at the forefront. There was such variety and interest that was channelled with limited resources -and potentially limited space- yet it completely worked. Over The Wall couldn’t have provided a better alternative to normal camp.” 

DRWF and Over The Wall hope it will be possible to reintroduce venue-based camps in 2022, but will closely monitor circumstances, to assess whether there can be any possible changes to plans.

Camp in the Cloud Map

Kevin Mathieson, CEO at Over The Wall, said: “The Camp in the Cloud programme was initially developed in response to the lockdown, but a virtual camp has always been something Over The Wall has planned to offer. The concept of camp as a virtual experience allows us to reach those children with serious illnesses who may not be able to attend our physical venues due to a variety of reasons such as medical or mobility limitations. In the future, we hope to reach campers both virtually and residentially allowing children to experience the mischief and magic of camp, regardless of the constraints of their illness.”

If you are interested in volunteering at Camp in The Cloud 2021, visit www.otw.org.uk   

Kevin Mathieson, CEO at Over The Wall, said: “The Camp in the Cloud programme was initially developed in response to the lockdown, but a virtual camp has always been something Over The Wall has planned to offer. The concept of camp as a virtual experience allows us to reach those children with serious illnesses who may not be able to attend our physical venues due to a variety of reasons such as medical or mobility limitations. In the future, we hope to reach campers both virtually and residentially allowing children to experience the mischief and magic of camp, regardless of the constraints of their illness.”

To apply to attend the March camp Click Here

To apply to attend the October camp Click Here

If you are interested in volunteering at Camp in The Cloud 2021, visit www.otw.org.uk   

It is currently estimated there are around 29,000 children in the UK living with type 1 diabetes. For these young people, quality of life is adversely affected by isolation and their inability to participate in many of the everyday activities enjoyed by their friends and peers. This often results in a growing lack of self-esteem and confidence which can become a barrier to future growth and development.

Over The Wall’s residential programmes (rated outstanding by Ofsted), are designed to bring about transformational change, helping young people with long-term conditions to tackle these issues.

DRWF and Over The Wall worked together to host the first residential camp in 2019 specifically to families with children with type 1 diabetes in the hope that young campers return home with a new sense of their abilities and ambitions and feeling far less isolated. Thanks to the generosity of DRWF supporters we gave 20 children living with type 1 diabetes and their families the experience of a residential camp at no cost to them.

The Diabetes Wellness Family camp in partnership with Over The Wall, was held at Liddington PGL in Wiltshire and attended by 21 families and 77 individual campers. Allan Jolly, Head of Partnerships and Evaluation at Over The Wall, on the first Diabetes Wellness Family Camp, said: “Overall the camp was extremely successful and there was universal appreciation and praise from parents and campers.

“We were delighted to announce this exciting partnership with DRWF, a diabetes charity with aims that match our vision that all children and young people, living with the challenges of serious illness and disability, can access transformational therapeutic recreation camp programmes, free of charge.

“We strive to make each camp a memorable, fun and empowering experience. All in a physically and medically safe environment.”

The camp was a welcome addition to DRWF’s existing award-winning diabetes wellness event programme. The charity received the Judges' Special Award and Highly Commended in the Empowering People with Diabetes category, at the annual Quality in Care Diabetes Awards in 2017.

Sarah Tutton, DRWF Chief Executive, said: “We have demonstrated the beneficial outcomes for people living with diabetes to attend one of our educational events and we are delighted to launch this new partnership with Over The Wall to offer a new event for families with children living with type 1 diabetes.

“The weekend allowed some respite for parents and siblings, as Over The Wall has full time staff, and volunteers running all the activities the camp has to offer. So, parents, guardians and siblings could relax and enjoy their weekend knowing the children and young people were all looked after.  It also allowed friendships to develop between families who often feel isolated which we know last long after the event.”

Feedback from parents from the first Diabetes Wellness Family Camp included:

“Wow. What an amazing weekend. Four happy campers. Thank you for all the hard work. The team were brilliant.”

“I can’t remember the last time I had kicked back and relaxed with my children as a family since our son was diagnosed with diabetes.  We are grateful to both charities for giving us the opportunity and recognising the condition.”

"We came away feeling refreshed. We made special memories.  We bonded as a family. We felt inspired by the volunteers.  We felt like we need to do this more often and felt lucky to have got a place on the camp.”

"You were all amazing, very approachable and friendly. We have come away feeling that we are not alone and knowing we have support and where to find information for support services.”

“We have just returned from our first family camp, what an amazing experience! Such a positive vibe, so well organised and serious fun! We met wonderful campers and volunteers alongside the team itself.  Fantastic memories made.!”

"It was the most emotional, amazing, adventurous and fun weekend ever. We have left with wonderful memories of achievements, friendships and emotional experience which has totally blown me away. Thank you so much.”

“Living in the moment, creating memories” Matt Lloyd, father of Josh, who attended the camp, said:

“We approached the Over The Wall weekend with open eyes. As this was our first diabetes camp, we just didn’t know what to expect.

I finished work early on the Friday and picked Josh up from school, he was his usual bubbly self, and I still had work on my mind...

We were met at reception by our helper, Steve, who showed us to our room and guided us to the main dining hall for our evening meal and to meet the other families. After a hearty evening meal, the room erupted into song, which took me by surprise. Was this normal I asked myself?

Josh seemed to take it in his stride and loved it instantly! I joined in best I could feeling self-conscious. I was more at home when the parents went to ‘the grown-ups meeting,’ leaving the kids, for the first time, in the hands of our helpers.

From that first evening and over the course of the weekend, I relaxed, Josh embraced every second of it. We kept trying to have 5 minutes to ourselves to play cards in the room, but there just wasn’t time. Another knock on the door by Steve and reminded us, it was time for the activities.

Activities included abseiling, climbing, giant swing and archery. To be honest I was as keen, if not more so, than the kids to get started. Yes, the memories of work were long gone and I was living in the moment, enjoying time with my son, creating memories.

Another hearty evening meal was much needed - and this time I was prepared to join in with a song, should it be thrust upon me. I could almost say I was relaxed.

But what had the weekend really done for us? Did we know more about diabetes? No. Were we closer to controlling highs and lows which are constantly on our minds? No. But we did know we are not alone with this condition. We have the support of people around us. And have memories which will last forever.”

Feedback from parents from the first Diabetes Wellness Family Camp included:

“Wow. What an amazing weekend. Four happy campers. Thank you for all the hard work. The team were brilliant.”

“I can’t remember the last time I had kicked back and relaxed with my children as a family since our son was diagnosed with diabetes.  We are grateful to both charities for giving us the opportunity and recognising the condition.”

"We came away feeling refreshed. We made special memories.  We bonded as a family. We felt inspired by the volunteers.  We felt like we need to do this more often and felt lucky to have got a place on the camp.”

"You were all amazing, very approachable and friendly. We have come away feeling that we are not alone and knowing we have support and where to find information for support services.”

“We have just returned from our first family camp, what an amazing experience! Such a positive vibe, so well organised and serious fun! We met wonderful campers and volunteers alongside the team itself.  Fantastic memories made.!”

"It was the most emotional, amazing, adventurous and fun weekend ever. We have left with wonderful memories of achievements, friendships and emotional experience which has totally blown me away. Thank you so much.”

“Living in the moment, creating memories” Matt Lloyd, father of Josh, who attended the camp, said:

“We approached the Over The Wall weekend with open eyes. As this was our first diabetes camp, we just didn’t know what to expect.

I finished work early on the Friday and picked Josh up from school, he was his usual bubbly self, and I still had work on my mind...

We were met at reception by our helper, Steve, who showed us to our room and guided us to the main dining hall for our evening meal and to meet the other families. After a hearty evening meal, the room erupted into song, which took me by surprise. Was this normal I asked myself?

Josh seemed to take it in his stride and loved it instantly! I joined in best I could feeling self-conscious. I was more at home when the parents went to ‘the grown-ups meeting,’ leaving the kids, for the first time, in the hands of our helpers.

From that first evening and over the course of the weekend, I relaxed, Josh embraced every second of it. We kept trying to have 5 minutes to ourselves to play cards in the room, but there just wasn’t time. Another knock on the door by Steve and reminded us, it was time for the activities.

Activities included abseiling, climbing, giant swing and archery. To be honest I was as keen, if not more so, than the kids to get started. Yes, the memories of work were long gone and I was living in the moment, enjoying time with my son, creating memories.

Another hearty evening meal was much needed - and this time I was prepared to join in with a song, should it be thrust upon me. I could almost say I was relaxed.

But what had the weekend really done for us? Did we know more about diabetes? No. Were we closer to controlling highs and lows which are constantly on our minds? No. But we did know we are not alone with this condition. We have the support of people around us. And have memories which will last forever.”

Read Lockdown guidance for staying home and safe for people living with diabetes during Covid-19 pandemic
Read How people with diabetes could become more ill if diagnosed with Covid-19
DRWF operations during the Covid-19 health crisis

The DRWF team is working remotely. Covid-19 guidance, particularly where it aligns or impacts with diabetes guidance, is shared as quickly as possible through the DRWF website and social media channels with the aim of making it as easy to understand as possible and a reliable source of latest news.

Further reports to follow – visit DRWF news page
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