Thanks for the JC and Jewish Telegraph for featuring this article.

Seriously ill children and families supported by Camp Simcha had the opportunity to be together on some summer days out for the first time since the pandemic began.

In lieu of the charity’s usual summer residential retreat, a packed week of outings and remote events saw families meeting up with each other and the Camp Simcha services team at Legoland, Gullivers World, Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers.

Head of Services Daniel Gillis explained: “While we couldn’t run our usual large-scale retreat this year, we are determined to ensure our families get that summer fun and respite that provides such an important emotional boost.

“The week began with our first set of outings, where families were greeted with a packed lunch and sent them home with a themed supper to make the day complete. We also had virtual activities planned for that evening and throughout the week, including a gin workshop for parents, art sessions, a magic show and an escape room – as well as Dinner for Two sent in for parents midweek with pizza for the children.

“It was topped off with the second set of outings to Chessington and Alton Towers the Sunday after. It’s a been a wonderful week. We have loved seeing the families we support – and in turn they have loved being able to meet up and see each other for the first time in so long. It has been a huge lift for everyone.”

Hannah Cohen, from Borehamwood, whose son Jake is now in remission following treatment for neuroblastoma, posted a series of happy photos on Facebook after the first outing, saying: “It’s been ages since we posted… Like most people we haven’t had much to report, but today we had a brilliant day at Legoland Windsor. Huge thank you to Camp Simcha UK – the kids said it was the best day ever.”

Mum Tracy Levene, from Manchester, whose son Joey has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, said: “We have been really treated this week. We had such a lovely night with the Dinner for Two; it felt like everything was thought of and it was all so beautifully put together.

“We also loved Gullivers World – it was amazing to get out and do something as a family – and the kids loved the escape room in the evening.”