Life's a beach at Fan Wood

FORGET Blackpool or Scarborough.

Thursday, 10th June 2010, 4:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2010, 4:49 pm

If you fancy a day on the beach you need go no further than Gomersal.

A team of young people spent part of their half term at the Fan Wood Activity Centre helping to create a new beach there.

It was all part of a residential trip organised by the Big Lottery funded Organised Chaos.

Katie Walsh, from the charity, said the event was for children from across Kirklees and involved lots of different adventures and activities.

"They came up with the idea of a beach, because there isn't one in Kirklees," she said.

"They designed the beach and also started the project off. It's still at the development stage so other groups which use the activity centre will be able to come along and work on it as well."

The activities were filmed by Play England which is making a DVD to be used in training schemes for those wanting to work with children.

"Play England approached us and wanted to make the film showing our good practice, for use by play workers and children's groups such as after-school clubs and even nurseries," she said.

"We wanted to show them that it's okay to get dirty and do risky activities as long as you are confident and competent.

"Our activities included fire play - making camp fires and cooking with them - and using knives for things like whittling wood.

"Most of the children had never taken part in activities like this before, had never lit a fire or used knives. They are aware of the dangers of knives and scared of them because they see them as weapons, but it's also important to realise that in the right hands they are useful tools.

"We have to realise that children learn from taking risks, they learn from participating in activities and really enjoy them. With proper guidance the sense of achievement they get is overwhelming."

The group also enjoyed many of the activities at the centre - which is owned by Spen Valley District Scouts - such as the low ropes, the indoor caving system and the night line.

The DVD will be distributed by Play England at seminars up and down the country. Organised Chaos and Kirklees will also have free copies.

"It is the second one in a series they have done, and we're hoping to be involved in all of them," added Katie.

Organised Chaos provides activities for eight-12-year-olds across Kirklees.

Its Big Lottery grant runs out in July, but organisers are hopeful of securing alternative funding, so they can continue their successful work.