Project information

Camps for Seriously Ill Children and Families

Increase the number of campers we serve by 15%, allowing us to reach out to and support many more children with serious illnesses, and their families.

March 2018 - October 2018

Charity information: Over The Wall

Over The Wall logo
  • Need


    Seriously ill children are often excluded from mainstream life. Their life-limiting conditions lead to severe disruption to their education, natural &social development. Physical evidence of their illness can subject them to bullying &rejection; heightening feelings of loneliness, exclusion & unhappiness. The siblings of seriously ill children often struggle with feelings of guilt, isolation and neglect and can become overwhelmed by additional responsibilities within their daily family lives.


    Our camps provide a safe, supportive & inclusive environment for children and help them to learn that they are not alone, and that they are capable of achieving so much more than they ever thought possible. We provide week long Therapeutic Recreation camps for seriously ill & disabled children, alongside week long camps specifically for their siblings. We also run weekend camps for whole family units, who struggle with the pervasive difficulties that arise from serious illness in children.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To run a total of 11 camps in 2015 and 11 in 2016, catering for a minimum of 575 campers in total


    » Serious Illness Camps: we aim to run 4 camps for children with life-limiting illnesses in Dorset, The Midlands and Scotland, catering for 220 children
    » Siblings Camps: we aim to run 3 camps for the siblings of children with serious illnesses in Dorset, The Midlands and Scotland, catering for 180
    » Family Camps: we aim to run 3 Family Camps for whole family units in Kent, The Midlands, North East and Scotland, catering for 240 campers in total

    What success will look like

    We will run a formal feedback process, whereby campers & their parents are surveyed pre and post camp to gauge expectations, concerns and responses to camp.

  • Impact


    Key measures of success include: increase in confidence, self-esteem, willingness of try new things, ability to cope. These factors are measured via our in-house formal feedback processes and also via our participation in an independent, international study, headed by The Yale Study Centre in the US. To date, this research has shown that very high numbers (between 77-84%) of campers benefit from attending camp and that these benefits are life-long.


    As we are entirely reliant on voluntary income to fund our work, not achieving our fundraising targets could lead to a reduction in camps and camper places offered. We have developed a robust fundraising plan which has, in the last 2 years, seen our income increase from £693,000 in 2012 to £950,540 in 2014. In the same time, our cost of fundraising relative to income has reduced from 32% to 24%.


    We issue annual reports for each donor, clearly indicating how we spent their donation and how the people we exist to support benefited. These reports are entirely tailored to account for restricted donations, (donations to specific camps or specific items of equipment / resources for example).

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £314,165

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      Amount Heading Description
      £29,470 Dorset Siblings Siblings Camp for 60 in Dorset
      £26,700 Midlands Siblings Siblings Camp for 60 in Staffordshire
      £31,500 Scotland Siblings Siblings Camp for 60 in Perth
      £34,000 Dorset SI Serious Illness Camp for 50 in Dorset
      £45,300 Scotland SI Serious Illness Camp for 50 in Perth
      £102,230 Midlands SI x 2 2 x Serious Illness Camps in Staffordshire for 120
      £44,965 Family Camps in Kent, Staffs, Fife and Northumberland for total 240

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    City Bridge Trust £26,775 Guaranteed
    Marillier Trust £24,875 Guaranteed
    Simplyhealth £22,665 Guaranteed
    DM Thomas Foundation £10,300 Guaranteed
    Awards for All £9,630 Conditional
  • Background


    Our camps are based at hired facilities, (schools, activity centres etc) at key locations around the UK, (Dorset, Kent, Staffordshire, Northumberland, Perth and Fife). All our camp venues have full disabled access. Some have all activites based 'on-site', those that don't are chosen because of the proximity of other, suitably accessible facilities (eg climbing walls, kayaking, swimming).


    We seek to provide places at our camps for those who have the most to gain from attending. We have an entirely open applications process. Anyone can apply. All applicants are asked to provide medical assessment completed by their consultant, GP or specialist nurse. Priority is given to those who have not attended an OTW camp before. We are uniquely able to accommodate a very wide range of illnesses and conditions (over 140 in 2014).

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are a small charity but with huge ambition. Our overheads are low and, as a member of the SeriousFun Children's Network, we benefit from an annual donation towards core costs which means that over 90% of all other donations go directly to funding our camps. We are a quality provider. Our Safeguarding Policies have been approved by the NSPCC. Care Inspectorate reviews of our camps have consistently awarded us with scored of ‘5 - very good’ and ‘6 – excellent’ across every category reviewed.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Our Volunteers

    Our volunteers form the core of our organisation; they work directly with our children and facilitate the life-changing benefits of our camps.

    Mark O'Dwyer

    Camp Director - Leads staff and volunteers at every camp we run. Responsible for safety of all and for delivering quality, fun programmes.

    Natalie Marshall

    Clinical Director - lead contact for medical volunteers who run our 'Med Shed's at camp. Responsible for pre-camp assessment of campers & care plans

An Introduction to OTW: What We Do and Why


a place at one of our Serious Illness Camps

All I have to say is this: Camp is EPIC! If I had to choose between Disneyland and Camp, I’d choose Camp

A Camper