Over July & August, the Hebden Bridge Hostel hosted 27 children on two creative retreats as part of the Healthy Holidays Calderdale holiday activity scheme  

IOU were awarded funding to provide a two day retreat for children from lower income families aged 10-11 for them to experience a holiday gap during the summer break with a programme that combined  outdoor activities with learning about healthy eating alongside creative arts such as storytelling and making. 

The two retreats, including an overnight stay in the relaxed setting of the Hostel, was an opportunity for children to experience independence and encourage self confidence away from home. 

The programme was developed working with 6 practitioners and included forest school in the Hostel woods, local walks, yoga,  leaf printing, foraging and taking turns cooking healthy meals for the rest of the group supervised by hostel staff.  In the evenings the children relaxed watching wild animal footage filmed overnight around the Hostel woods and took part in interactive storytelling.

The experience for the children and staff was overwhelming. Our research showed that on arrival the children’s confidence went from low (3/10) to 100% stating they were 10/10 on departing. Yoga, whittling wood, and building fires were favourite activities with some not wanting to leave the yoga class!  When asked what their least favourite activity was 100% of the children said ‘nothing’. 

Parents and carers reported how incredible the experience had been for their child, some had never stayed away from home before:

“I would rate this experience for our child 10 out of 10. I am deeply humbled to see how much he gained from the whole experience. For us, it has made facing new experiences possible. The whole experience has changed his vision of what is possible for him to try! THANKYOU ALL!!!!!

 “More please, as many as you can – she loved it ❤”

    “Thank you for giving my daughter the experience, she loved it. We don’t get to do much as she has a severely autistic brother. Xx”

Joanne Wain IOU’s Executive Director said, “ The IOU Creative Retreat at the Hostel was an incredible success and we felt privileged to introduce young people to the world of IOU.’

Tags -Thanks to Healthy Holidays Calderdale, Lisa Bailey, Julie West,  Live Wild, Ursula, Carla Daly, and all of the IOU and Hostel team that made this such a special event.