While the UK basked in the sun last weekend, 83 B’nei Mitzvah students completed an 8-mile walk to raise an incredible £51,000 for Camp Simcha’s work supporting seriously ill children.

The Camp Simcha B’nei Mitzvah project is a year-long initiative in London and Manchester, offering students a mix of volunteering and fundraising activities.

It culminates in the sponsored walk, which this year raised funds for the charity’s therapeutic arts service.

Two hundred miles apart, two enthusiastic groups set off, with the London walk stopping at the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals to make deliveries of Camp Simcha teddies and goody packs for the wards; in Manchester the children finished their challenge at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital presenting staff with two pieces of art they had created at the request of the play team there, together with balloons and activity packs for patients.

Michalle Phillips from North London, who celebrated her bat mitzvah in November 2023, signed up to the programme with several friends.

“It has been really fun to be involved in the programme as part of my bat mitzvah year,” said Michalle. “I have really enjoyed all the volunteering activities we have done and it was great to join with my friends and then make new friends as well.

“The walk was hard work but it felt really good to finish it – especially knowing it has raised so much money for ill children and their brothers and sisters to have art sessions as a way of making them feel better.”

Sarah Richman, from North Manchester, said: “It was so inspiring and really made me think about how I can help others. I feel so grateful to have been part of something so amazing.”

Expressing his gratitude to everyone who took part this year – the programme’s biggest cohort to date – Camp Simcha chief executive Daniel Gillis said: “The participants have been brilliant, so committed and enthusiastic and the fantastic amount they have raised will be funding our arts@home therapeutic project. This is a really important service which has a big impact for both the seriously ill children and the siblings so thank you to all the group for their wonderful efforts.”

To find out more or enrol in next year’s programme email gemma@campsimcha.org.uk