Residential break for Children & Families Project

Our Children and Families Project recently returned from their annual residential break in the Highlands with a group of young service users. Project Manager, Nichola, updated us on an action-packed week.  

On a lovely sunny March day, we set off for our annual respite holiday.  Each year we take 12 children aged between 7-11 years away for one week of outdoor activities and team building at the Hopscotch Holiday Centre, Ardvullin House.  The centre is in Ardgour on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and is reached by crossing on the Corran Ferry, 8 miles south of Fort William.

The residential break provides new and valuable experiences for children, and for some, it is their first time away from their home environment. Children bond with staff and their peers during the week and experience collective living, sharing sleeping accommodation, eating together and reaching group consensus on what activities to do. The routine of the week supports the children with their social and emotional development. Children often open up about their worries or concerns during the week and are able to gain emotional support from staff members and their peers.

During the break, the group participated in a number of activities including a forest walk at Inchree with spectacular waterfalls; a trip to the Chocolate Factory in Oban where they learned about the origins of chocolate and then made their own; and a trip to the Sea Life Centre in Oban where they were delighted to meet Boo the seal and see the otters getting fed. At the Sea Life Centre, the group also took part in a wildlife quiz and received medals for their achievements. The children also went bowling in Fort William and spent many happy hours in the beautiful garden at the house – we even managed a BBQ this year while the sun was out!

The week provided the children with opportunities which improved their physical health and encouraged children to grow in confidence, supporting their self-esteem. The powerful experience of being surrounded by nature in the great outdoors provides memories that last a life-time.

What the children said: 

“I loved climbing the mountain to the waterfall, one day I will go there with my

“This place is the best place ever; I love the garden”

“I had the best time of my life, best of all crossing on the ferry every day because I’ve never been on one before”

“I loved Boo the seal, at the Sea Life Centre, I want to take him home.”