What we do
Avalon Camps is a local charity based in Somerset, which gives disadvantaged children from Bristol, between the ages of 7 and 10, an opportunity to have a holiday in the countryside.
The children are recommended by their teachers and/or care and welfare officers. The camps give them the chance to do something totally different; to learn, play and sleep in the great outdoors, visit local farms and take part in new activities.
We hold two camps every year. These are each six days long and take place at the beginning of the school summer holidays, with 64 children attending over the two camps.
In 1987, the first Avalon Camps took place. Headed up by Revd. Michael Pavey, the villages of Mark and Allerton ran a camp for disadvantaged children from the East End of London.
Equipment was gathered from a number of places including RAF Locking, local businesses and the Church of England Children’s Holiday Camps organisation, and volunteers were rounded up from the local area. Various trips and activities were discussed and planned for the children. The camp was to last 11 days.
The major source of income was to be from the “Moor Tour”, an 18-mile sponsored circuit of the villages. Other activities were put on through the year to raise money.
Six teenagers from the local villages became Tent Leaders and adult villagers were encouraged to volunteer for tasks such as washing up, washing clothes, removing rubbish and hosting a child once a week into their home.
The first three years were so sucessful that Michael decided to add a second week. However, this began to stretch both finances and personnel; making two return coach journeys to London plus almost-daily excursions became even more expensive.
Faced with these rising costs, Michael decided to abandon London in favour of offering the camp experience to children from the Hartcliffe and Withywood areas of Bristol.
He worked initially with Gus Grimshaw, the Headteacher of Teyfant School (now called Bridge Learning Campus). Gus gave enthusiastic support to the project and came to involve disadvantaged children from the neighbouring Hareclive, Fair Furlong, Four Acres and Gay Elms schools.
During the following years we continued to work with the church of Mark and Allerton, who provided us with a great deal of support in ensuring that the camps were a success year after year. However, after some hugely successful years, in 2017 we decided to go our separate ways and took the exciting step to establish ourselves as an official charity. This has been a big change and we have faced a number of challenges along the way, however it has also presented us with countless new opportunities in terms of fundraising, raising awareness and getting the community involved.
Michael’s magnificent and visionary legacy still pervades everything we do. Inevitably, there have been many changes over the past 30 years – and who knows what great things the next chapter in our story will be!