Holiday Club 2017

Holday Club Report for Summer 2017


This year the Penlee cluster  churches  in partnerships with St Mary’s Church school  Penzance undertook  5 full weeks of holiday clubs for local children: 10 until 3 each day with free mini bus pick ups from 9-15 from Penzance and Madron….and return drop offs by 4pm.

Each day meals and all refreshments were freely provided  for all children, young helpers and leaders….and some visitors who bravely came to be with us.  A real sense of community and care was stablished by everybody sitting down and eating a common meal together. 

Leaders, young helpers and a band of welcomed volunteers from the churches cooked a range of tasty meals and picnics. Some of our young helpers became very good cooks and learned the art of cooking for large numbers and keeping their cool whilst providing meals on time: thanks Jess, Stuart, Alex and William

This year we were able to have the use of two mini buses which certainly helped with transport to Paul and for trips out. A huge thanks to our 3 bus drivers, Tracy, Chris and Andrew for their dedication, flexibility and humour throughout the 5 weeks.

Paul village, on the edge of Penzance proved to be a very good venue for the holiday clubs: a church hall with a number of break out rooms and doors that lead out into a wonderful quiet garden and a newly acquired meadow that overlooks St Michael Mount and Bay. We thank the people in Paul for their great hospitality and kindness during the summer and for being very accommodating.

Young helpers

This year we activity recruited young helpers, aged between 12-16, to help with the summer club.  All of these young people had been children who had attended holiday clubs in previous years.  They, like the other staff helpers, wore pink Penlee cluster T shirts to give them a sense of identity and being part of the team. Some of the young helpers had attended the planning sessions for holiday clubs where they were helped to think through their role, introduced to the ethos of the programme, the safeguarding issues as well as to have their contributions and suggestions for activities. During the holiday club weeks young helpers also had fun and challenging activities planned for them to have both fun and gain other skills: Surfing, paddle boarding, water obstacle course and code breaking.

The young helpers gained a range of useful skills and experiences:

They grew in confidence and skills as the weeks went on.  Although the adult staffing level needed to increase because of having under 16 year old with us it certainly added to our vision of nurturing young leader s of the future. 

Linking with schools ( Hilary)


Most of the leaders for the holiday club were young people aged between 18-25 and Teaching Assistants. This year this was also supplemented by three interns from the cluster. Staff from the Penlee Cluster also helped to lead, oversee and steer the project. This year all the administration and excursions were overseen  and arranged very ably by a young leader, Lucy Tyreman. 

The holiday club provided a very good learning and training opportunity for young leaders who are either already at university preparing to go into education or youth work and those who were considering what direction their future might take.  Most grew in confidence and skills as the weeks progressed. They learnt valuable lessons about working as a group, managing children and other adults…and the need to both plan ahead and also to be flexible.


This year we have been able to cater for children  and young helpers with a range of special needs.

Funding and sponsors

We are very grateful to a number of grant making organisations and to local people for donations.  This allowed us to have very good children/staff ratios so that children could be given the gift of time and a listening ear. It also enable many children to have free or assisted places…..and other children to pay just £4 a day to include transport, lunch, snacks and trips out.

We were able to offer a range of exciting opportunities: paddle boarding and surfing, trips to swimming pools, Cornish places of interest  and the Minack theatre.

Holiday Club week 1

A very exciting and energetic week to start our summer holiday programme!

The aim of the week was to have taster sessions of a number of sports as well as to learn some new sports skills.  Cricket was first up….our throwing, bowling and batting certainly improved …..but learning to field did not capture the imagination! Football skills and games were also popular. But the activity that caught our imagination was ultimate Frisbee!  We invented games to improve our throwing and catching….and everybody had a go at customising their own Frisbee.  But we loved the team game of Frisbee….where adults and young helpers had as good a time as the kids

We just enjoyed chilling out together and getting to know people from other places……and having some unstructured downtime….We  ate meals together, chatted and explored…..just as summer holidays should be.


Week 2 Jonah and the whale

The main challenge of this week was to make an enormous whale.....a blue whale.  Armed with whithes and a lot of imagination we set out to make the main focus of our story....Jonah and the whale.  The sea and all its treasures occupied  our thoughts and energy.  Parachute shark games, visits to the maritime museum , craft and learning to surf at Godrevy  were important :components and challenges .

We thought hard about overcoming our fears. we thought about scurvy and creatures of the deep. We tried our hand a stop animation....we created a play about Jonah and the whale.  We learnt the story of the Three Johns from Paul....people who risked and lost their lives in South America trying to help others.  We sat in the belly of the whale.....alone ...and thinking about overcoming fears.

The children loved finding ways to retell the story. Older kids were obsessed with learning about scurvy.  We had fun trying to stand up on a surf board....the power of the waves were very strong

The junior helpers became more confident in their role during this week, providing support to young leaders. Some began to realise their talent for cooking and  how important working as a team is.  Bit by bit they began to help lead games with the parachute

Young leaders found working with youngsters challenging at times....learning to keep calm under pressure and to know there is very little down time in a working day.  Sometimes it was hard to remember that we were there to engage and talk t the children and not one another.  We were so tired by the end of this week.

Week 3 Science and adventure

During this week  children were engaged in lots of hands on science experiments and creative projects.

Lighthouses and electrical circuits…including a lighthouse visit and meeting someone who had been a light house keeper; Volcanoes and explosions, natural world and human bodies.  Children spent an enjoyable day at Porthcurno telegraph museum where they were also introduced to code breaking.


Week 4: Stars in your eyes

This week saw the children engaging in dance, singing, drama and more creativity. A small number of the group had experience of being on stage or were members of local drama groups and this was helpful when it came to encouraging and helping those that were shy or hesitant to join in. The games that we had been playing to start each day in previous weeks were exchanged for warm up sessions to get brain and body prepared for the actives of that day. It was good to see this being led by one of the junior leaders who is a member of Kids ‘r’ Us drama group in St Ives. The group learnt a piece of choreography to the song ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Jusn Timberlake.

Although it was quite challenging, the children (and adult helpers!) threw themselves into it with gusto and by lunchme were able to put on a performance for the ‘Lunch Club’ at Paul Church Hall which was met with rapturous applause. It was lovely to see young and young at heart enjoying a cooked lunch and conversion in each others company.

As it was pirate week (culminating in a Guinness World Record pirate gathering challenge) the children wrote some lyrics to the tune ‘drunken sailor’ called ‘What shall we do with the Penzance Pirate?’. They choreographed their own movements to accompany it and it was clear their enjoyed ‘walking the plank’ and ‘plundering all his gold and silver’!

A trip to the Minack Theatre to watch the hilarious ‘Skillywidden’ performed by Squashbox was enjoyed by all, followed by professional drama lessons and storytelling with John Brolly. This inspired the young people to write their own underwater themed production back at the Church Hall using sock puppets. Their performance was thoroughly enjoyable and belied the ‘Twister’ style contortions required behind the scenes of the Punch and Judy style presentation.

The beautiful  peace and quiet of Paul was certainly broken when the children recycled their empty drinks water bottles and cups to create shakers and other un-tuned percussion instruments, the loudest being one of the adult helpers who insisted on banging a saucepan with wooden spoon


Week 5: Forest school – 50 things to do before I’m eleven and three quarters

This week was a very exciting week and was very fun.  The youngsters used the National trust book and in small groups worked out which of the 50 activities they would engage with.  This week allowed leaders and junior helpers to work with their groups at planning their own day and to work out how to resource and execute their decisions.  This was an important part of all their development as leaders.  Damming streams, blackberry hunting and making the jam, climbing trees and rolling down hills….and rock pooling were the types of activities that will have made the summer holidays memorable and carefree

All children had a great time building some dens out of tarpaulins, string, bamboo sticks, withy sticks and natural resources and an opportunity was given to all 9plus children to experience an overnight wild camp.  This proved to be quite challenging for some youngsters and a number did retreat to the security of the hall for part of the night.  For others the thrill of star gazing and hearing and seeing foxes at night was quite magical.

We had very tired youngsters and leaders for the final Friday as a result of the camp….but all managed to learn to paddle board or go swimming on the final day of the holiday club.