Clouds gather over Darwen kids’ summer group

Lancashire Telegraph: Clouds gather over Darwen kids’ summer group Clouds gather over Darwen kids’ summer group

AN initiative providing children and families with affordable activities could be lost after a vital funding stream came to an end.

Summer Fun 4 All, which puts on days out and activities for children living in Darwen and its rural surrounding areas, was established 12 years ago.

But after a three-year £30,000 grant from Children In Need came to an end, the volunteer-run charity is in danger of folding.

Tracey Gilbertson, who has helped run the group for more than a decade, said: “It would be such a shame for Darwen to lose this as we get 200 children on our books every year.

“They are making friends that last for years and we see them come back when they are older.”

The charity provides events ranging from activity days in the town’s parks to day trips to Blackpool Zoo.

Organisers said children from all backgrounds could afford to get involved.

Miss Gilbertson said: “Everything is heavily subsidised, so on average an event costs us £10 per child but we would only charge £2.

“It is such a good leveller because it is open to all. It is all about community cohesion and we get children from all walks of life.”

Funding remains for the charity to continue some events this year, but that will soon run out.

Miss Gilbertson said: “We have a chef’s academy coming up and a dance and drama week in summer.But we do try to offer things not normally accessible for children around here, such as last year we did canoeing, and we were looking at an archery day.

“And we are looking for funding for a horse riding day as well.”

Miss Gilbertson said that as well as Children In Need, which provided about 75 per cent of the charity’s budget for the past three years, funders such as Herbert Parkinson, Twin Valley Homes, Crown Paints and the Lloyd Trust had been helpful.

She said: “We are so very grateful to everyone who has helped over the years.There are so many generous people in Darwen and we hope to find some more so that we can keep going.”

Anyone who can help with funding is asked to call 07821 415737.

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