top of page

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 and respite projects 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 discover and value their own personalities and strengths.


The main Thrive Outside residentials happen during the school easter and summer holidays, using a large residential school in a rural setting as our base. Each project lasts for five 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.


Many of the children attending have never been outside of London before and the chance to camp out overnight or see waves rushing up a beach are wholly new experiences for them. Working with children in natural, outdoor environments provides new ways to draw out their potential and build self belief. For large numbers the break from often difficult home circumstances during the summer is a crucial intervention in their family life, providing essential respite and supporting challenging relationships.

Many children attending our Thrive Outside gateway projects will need longer term support. For those most in need, we are able to offer recurring respite breaks via our summer 'Under the Stars' camping projects or one to one mentoring in London. For those most in need we aim to offer places on our Journey Programme - a series of four small group residentials spread across the year and designed to follow on from, and build on progress made, on our initial Thrive Outside gateway projects. 


You can read our 2018 Impact Report, which includes detail on the incredible impact Thrive Outside projects had for particularly disadvantaged children here.


A unique & intensive approach:


During a typical Thrive Outside week, a young person will spend over 60 hours with the same, responsive, psychologically minded adults. In terms of time spent alongside the child, this equates to over a years' worth of weekly clinic or home visits from social workers or other agencies.


This is particularly powerful for children who do not maintain attendance or gain benefit from more traditional forms of psychological support. 


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..


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.

The power, meaning and intensity of these times away is hard to overestimate. 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.

bottom of page