You may already know that here at Your Co-op Travel, we work alongside some amazing charity partners to raise money for incredible causes. We are very excited to announce our new partnership with the Go Beyond organisation.
Go Beyond, formerly know as CHICKS was founded by two Devon teachers, John and Paula Vaughn. Their very first breaks were held under canvas on a farm near Lydford Gorge in Devon. At the time the charity was small, but the vision was big. John and Paula saw the opportunity to make a lasting difference to young people through giving them a break from the challenges faced in their everyday lives.
In 1998, the charity moved from camping to a rented retreat near Milton Abbott in Devon and then in 2003, took the leap of purchasing their first centre, ‘Coastal,’ in Cornwall. The Moorland Retreat on Dartmoor was then added in 2006. Most recently, Go Beyond opened their Daleside Retreat in Derbyshire, giving them the opportunity to support even more young people across the UK.
Go Beyond work with children and young people aged from 8-15 years old from challenging or vulnerable backgrounds.
Under normal operating conditions week-long residential visits would be the usual offering. Due to Covid-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions they have been offering day breaks at the centre in Cornwall. Children visit each day for a week within their existing school bubble.
Both the residential and day breaks include a variety of adventurous, imaginative, creative, and reflective experiences through which the children can build skills, make new friends, try something new and make memories that last a lifetime.
At their most recent Day Breaks, children aged from 8-12 years old participated in drumming workshops, art afternoons, cooking lessons, foraging in local area, ‘mindful’ walks and trails. There were also Forest School days which included: creating temporary camps, building fires and team challenges. Go Beyond maximise the use of wide-open spaces around the Centre with games of footgolf, obstacle courses, treasure hunts and taking trips to Par Beach down the road!
Throughout the breaks, children collect ‘I will remember forever’ moments, which are shared and celebrated at the end of each day.
10-year-old George is a young carer. George’s mum is physically disabled, as well as struggling with poor mental health. George has taken on the role of carer, helping her to get around and taking responsibility for many of the household chores. George is also very aware of his mum’s struggles with depression and offers her a great deal of emotional support; a huge responsibility for someone so young. George is currently home-schooled and with his caring responsibilities, has little opportunity to mix with children his own age. He was referred to Go Beyond so that he could have this chance, as well as enjoying a much-needed break from his caring role.
George arrived at Go Beyond on the Monday with bundles of positive energy and, clearly eager to show off his brilliant personality, even performed a magic trick to the whole group on the very first evening! George amazed his crowd and really thrived from their cheers and applause. This helped a boy, who in the past has had very limited experience of social interactions with others his age, find his place in the group. George carried on performing for the rest of the week, jazz handing off boulder walls, playing a solo on the drums around the musical maze and getting up and singing for everyone during dinner on Wednesday. He was a born performer and kept the group thoroughly entertained throughout the week. Break Leader Alice commented on how much the acceptance he received from his peers clearly meant to George: “George is going from being home-schooled, to mainstream schooling in September. This week has proved to him that he can be liked in a group of people his age for just being himself. We hope that he goes into this next step in life with the confidence he has shown during his week with us.”
Dolly is 10 and lives her mum and gran. Dolly’s mum is in recovery from drug abuse which has left her with significantly reduced mobility and means she is cared for by Dolly and her gran. People are rarely invited to their home and they don’t live in a neighbourhood with many other children, which leaves Dolly isolated from people her own age. Sadly, Dolly’s school life is equally as tough as her home life. She struggles to make friends and has experienced significant bullying due to her home life. Dolly’s Young Carer group leader referred her to us to give her an opportunity for a break and to make some new friendships with others who are in similar situations.
Dolly arrived at Go Beyond feeling nervous about not knowing anyone and the prospect of having to make new friends was on her mind. Break Leader Alice assured her that everyone was in the same boat and that they began playing some games to get to know each other. Amazingly within a couple of hours of arriving, Dolly formed a strong friendship with another one of the girls. During the evening reflection sessions, Dolly said her best bit of the day was meeting her new best friend. This friendship helped to guide her through the week and gave her the confidence to form friendships with the rest of the group. On the last evening Dolly stood up in front of all the children and adults to say, “You are all my stars of the day. I wouldn’t normally talk to any of you, but I’m glad I have because you are all really kind, and now you are all like my little family.”
When you book a holiday through Co-op Holidays (our in-house tour operator) we automatically make a donation to Go Beyond. We also have the facilities to add donations on to any 3rd party supplier bookings if you wish to do so.
For more information about Go Beyond we encourage you to have a look at their website https://www.gobeyond.org.uk/