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Thrive Outside:

Therapeutic residentials for 8 - 13 year olds

Key features:


  • Provides week long residentials based around consistent, positive adults with a family/group structure.


  • Focused around re-engaging children with the outdoors, creative play, imagination and therapeutic adventures.


  • Supports the expression, recognition and regulation of emotions.



Our therapeutic residential holiday projects will provide safe opportunities for children to experience adventure and have fun, to learn that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them, and to value their own uniqueness.


Our main Thrive Outside residentials happen during the school summer holidays, using a large residential school in a rural setting as our base. Each project lasts for six days and is structured around a family model, where children are matched into small groups, each supported by two trained volunteers, contributing to a child:adult ratio of better than 2:1 across the project. Within this close knit group, children find themselves feeling safe and supported, and so can be helped to develop their social problem solving skills in new ways.


Throughout the week our volunteers invest huge amounts of energy into encouraging and getting to know the children, facilitating them to build friendships and work together as a group and ensuring they have the support they need, both practical and emotional, to have a transformative time away. Typical activities over the course of a week might include a trip to meet the animals at a farm, bushcraft or survival skills in the forest, canoeing, cycling in a country park or camping and campfire cooking under the stars.



Young Leaders are trained volunteers between the ages of 14 and 18, who support and provide role modelling for children on our residential projects. Thirteen year old girls and boys, who show leadership skills and potential whilst on holiday with us, will be invited to become part of our Young Leader programme the following year, after undertaking a rigorous residential training programme.


Young Leaders relish the chance to take on responsibility, work within our vibrant and fun teams and build on their own experiences to help younger children to enjoy their time away. In turn, we benefit from their excellent mediation skills, boundless energy and senses of fun, which add a huge amount to the projects.


The challenge, sense of belonging and acceptance that Young Leaders find in being part of our projects builds their confidence, develops new skills and offers a fun and rewarding project during the summer holidays.  

The power, meaning and intensity of these times away is hard to underestimate. Spending such significant and concentrated time with adults who are trained to affirm uniqueness and worth, who can identify latent talents, listen, demonstrate care and regard and model problem solving, is a powerful way to help very vulnerable children.. This is likely to be particularly key for children who do not access more traditional forms of psychological support. To emphasise this point, during a Thrive Outside week, a young person will spend over 140 hours with the same, responsive, psychologically minded adults. In terms of time spent alongside the child, this equates to over two years' worth of weekly clinic or home visits from social workers or other agencies. Different children will need different forms of help, but in terms of getting to know a young person, understand their challenges and simple number of hours' for attuned conversation, the project provides a unique and powerful support.


In helping children overcome fear, shame, anger and low self esteem in settings where they can take safe risks, we begin to equip them to apply these skills in their wider lives. Children are helped to challenge themselves, to safely experience the feeling of adventure and to work closely with adults and other young people. For many, it is a transformative experience.


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