What we did last.

Cinderella Pantomime – Thursday 7th January 2018

Our annual visit to Thwaites Theatre for the pantomime was attended by 32 people who laughed, probably cried and for some it was a real eye opener or rather their eyes were popping out. We all met in the foyer and waited for the call to take our seats. We all got settled and then the fun commenced. The actors were brilliant as usual and when they shouted out the clubs name, all we hear was Henry shouting oohsh. Everyone joined in with the songs, clapping and the usual pantomime sayings (oh yes they did). Ice cream at the interval and ready for part two. A few of our group got a mention from the actors and more singing and mayhem. I’m sure a few of us were unsure if Cinderella’s carriage was going to stay in the air but luckily it did. Another pantomime and another fun filled year for our club. Our club is now in its 5th year and continues to provide a place for children to be themselves.

Zip Wire, Grass Sledging and Archery – 26th November

As a group the weather has never bothered us when taking part in activities and even in November when it is a wee bit more parky than normal our motley bunch still managed to enjoy themselves no end on our recent activity day at Bowley Scout Camp. First up was the Zip Wire and as Ella wanted to see someone doing it first Amelia volunteered to go. Liam had volunteered to assist the kids coming off the zip wire at the bottom, however when Amelia went down the zip stopping her wasn’t as easy as it looked. Poor Liam nearly got knocked out by the steps. All the other kids soon followed Amelia down the zip with the dab being the favoured trick to try. Now grass sledging was up next and it is not for the faint hearted, not that any of our lot are. As there was frost on the grass the competition of who had gone the furthest was easier to work out as we could see their trails. The first couple of turns were trial and error of where was the best place on the hill to start, when this was worked out the competition hotted up. Callam, Lucas, Jayden, Blaize, Ella, William, Amelia, Noah and Hayden all had several turns when they started to double up. There was a hint of cheating / cleverness as when the sledge was coming to a stop some contenders where encouraging the sledge to go further by having a shimmy. The duo to go the furthest was Hayden and Ella. Looking for more adventure the kids they decided to race each other which caused amusement and merriment. Off for lunch next and our usual customary game of the After Eight Challenge. With all the contestants lined up on the chairs, the rest of the people that were using the centre came for a nosy. Chocolates at the ready, game on. There was many a messy face trying to get the chocolate from their forehead into their mouths without using their hands. I was ecstatic as I managed it for the first time ever. After lunch it was off to Archery. Now we are usually inside, but as they were setting up for something it was back to the field. Unfortunately the targets are immobile in the field so everyone had to fire from the same distance which proved a little too far for some apart from our ringer Louise who hit a bulls-eye. Everyone had a few goes and I wonder how we didn’t lose any arrows with some of the wayward shots. Another great day out and our thanks go to our instructors at the centre, especially Ryan. Next up Tubing at Ski Rossendale.

Chester Zoo – 6th November

Early start this week but we got going quickly enough. What we learned from our travelling last week was that regardless of how long the journey is, bring cake, biscuits, drinks, chocolate and anything else edible. Just call it breakfast. Our driver had explained that it was a new bus we were travelling in and that it had so many wonderful gadgets, just a pity we didn’t see any. We arrived at the Zoo and met up with our satellite group members and made our way in. We made our way to the islands to travel on the boat. Luckily we all managed to fit on the boat at once. There was a lack of animals to see from the boat but plenty on the boat, monkeying around so much so a voice from the bushes requested that we didn’t rock the boat. Off to see what we could find next. In no particular order we seen the monkeys, jaguars together, giraffes, sloths, rhinos, meerkats, penguins, fish, lions, tigers and bears oh my, cheetahs, crocodile and various other wonderful animals. One of our traditions at the zoo is the bat house. Last time we nearly lost Kelly as in she nearly passed away when one got too close. This time it was Callam’s turn as he froze of all places in the bat tunnel, just as well his two year old sister was there to save him as she calmly walked through without a bother. We did have our lunch in the food court but as it was so busy we were on different tables. We wandered around the zoo some more to see what more we could find. Our last pit stop was the shop to buy some reminders of our visit. Another brilliant day out for the Friday Night Project. Up next Archery, Zip Wire and Grass Sledging.

Blackpool Illuminations – 29th October

We met at our usual place to get the bus and set off for Blackpool. As the chip shop couldn’t accommodate us this year we were treating ourselves to a meal in the Brewers Fayre. When we arrived in Blackpool we went for a wander around the block as our table wasn’t booked until 6pm. Some of the others were arriving by car so we waited for them inside the restaurant as it was a bit parky outside. The offer of unlimited soft drinks in the restaurant had our lot constantly going for a top up. As ordering food goes, especially for 23 people it went rather smoothly as most people ordered buffet. Vishal even brought his lovely mum and son along to meet us, not sure what they thought of our lot though. After we had been fed and watered we made our way to the seafront. As we meandered along the kids were having a ball letting off some steam, apart from Callam who wasn’t feeling 100%. Franc made a beeline for the sand with the kids soon following. The kids had fun writing their names, digging a hole or trying to make a castle in the sand. As it was a bit nippy Franc decided not to have his customary paddle. More mayhem ensued as the lure of the sparkly items on sale was too much for some people and they were duly bought. Franc was the recipient of a lovely pink wig to go with the pink lipstick that Ella insisted he tried on earlier. At least none of our lot would get lost as we would see them before we heard them for a change. The illuminations were on but the kids were more interested in the trams going up and down the prom. We made it to the tower unscathed and made our way to the photo booth. We were captured in a variety of poses as a group. It was then down to the kids for a photo of just them. Rachel had everyone doing the DAB as it has become a her trademark wherever we go, her last performance was on boat on Lake Windermere. Our group photo was then projected onto Blackpool Tower (I’ve always wanted to see my names in lights).Off to the fudge shop for some goodies then the long walk back to the bus. As it was a bit later than expected unfortunately we were unable to drive through the rest of the lights. A good time was had by all and we look forward to going to Chester Zoo next Sunday.

Bendrigg 5 Night Residential – 6th August till 11th August

When I started the Friday Night Project my aim was to take our members on a residential holiday. Over the last week that aim has been realised and in spectacular fashion as well.

Day 1 in the Bendrigg Big House – We all arrived on Saturday the 6th August around 11.00am to check in and make our beds. Our instructor for our break was Gemma and she came to introduce herself and do the safety talk and to inform us of today’s activities. Lunch was first and soup and sandwiches were devoured before we went cycling. We were treated to the experience of people being on a bicycle probably for the first time in about 30 years coupled by the weird and wonderful cycles on offer. Everyone chose their preferred mode of transport and we went for a trial run which maybe should have been called the end parade as the cycling turned into mayhem and merriment. Some people just couldn’t master their contraptions whereas others thought two were better than one when it came to completing the track, that’s if you fitted on the bike in the first place. Others found it hard to stay on the track and had to be rescued on numerous occasions, whereas the person taking the shortcuts became unstuck. We only had one spectacular crash when Hannah was nearly swimming with the fishes in the stream, but she composed herself and carried on. The funniest site had to be Lyndsey and Nicola on a bicycle made for two, maybe just not those two. We then had some down time so we went on the Tiger trail to see if we could find any, we didn’t find any tigers but plenty of monkey’s amongst our lot. Next up was the tube slide which is not for the faint hearted, I don’t think that phrase applies to our kids. The shrieks and cries of laughter as everyone had their go at going downhill very fast was punctuated by Franc when he hit his head on the way down, I’m sure he said gosh. The kids soon realised the heavier the people going down, the faster you went. It was like the animals going in two by two. After the chimps tea party (tea) it was time for the indoor cave. The kids became acquainted with the darkness with Gemma putting them through their paces with lots of games of hide and seek, she even tried to outsmart the kids but they were wise to her tricks. There is an ongoing competition for all groups that attend Bendrigg in the indoor cave to find 12 gold bars in the quickest time possible. Our kids not only beat the record, they smashed it completing it in 1 minute 49 seconds. Who needs Rio 2016 for world breaking records. After the indoor caving the next challenge was the Bendy Pot, which is a vertical cave inside the supporting wall of the zip wire. This one is for all our little people and they didn’t disappoint. They were like rats up the drainpipe. Some playtime on the ropes course to finish off our activities for the day and back to our abode for hot chocolate and pyjama’s time. The kids went off to bed exhausted but excited about caving the next day. Let the snoring commence.

Day 2 in the Bendrigg Big House – Some sleepy heads finally managed to get up and after a hearty breakfast of fill your boots we went to the resource centre to get kitted up. Wellies, onesies, waterproofs and a change of clothing gathered we headed for the buses. With a never ending sing song and cries and actions of DAB we went on our merry way. Pit stop at the toilets in Ingleton brought the first challenge, how do you get your caving onesie off to use the toilet, then back on again when you had finished. Back on the bus and off to the caves beneath Ribblehead Viaduct. Kitted out with helmets and lights we trekked to our starting point with William showing us the dangers of standing in puddles on the moors. We split into groups of who will, who is not sure and I will if you will and proceeded to our chosen caves. Gemma took the first group into the caves with Craig assisting the second group. In the first we had a musical interlude from William when he was confronted by the bottom of someone in front of him with him singing “I like big butts and I cannot lie” which settled the nerves of most people in the cave. Hannah was spooked and wanted to retire so Franc kindly agreed to assist her to the start (big guys and caving don’t mix believe me). The others carried on whilst Franc and Hannah went to look for the others. Franc and Hannah soon found the not so sure participants at the next cave and waited for the emergence of the others. The not so sure participants excelled themselves by going in the cave. Our intrepid cavers where not finished yet and went in to try the last cave and exited via the letterbox. It is as small as it sounds. Another record breaker as Katie (aged 5) attempted and completed the letterbox challenge the youngest from Bendrigg to do so. Off to Ingleton again to visit Ye Olde Sweet Shop. As that was shut we descended on the first available shop and stocked up on goodies then went to the park. The kids let off some steam then we headed back to the buses. Back on site we had some down time before tea. After tea it was time for orienteering around the site. Teams were sorted and Craig gave out some trial runs which were quickly completed. For some groups it was like the blind leading the blind whereas for others they were like headless chickens. The famous Lake District weather came to pay us a visit so our intrepid ramblers had to call a halt earlier than expected for safety reasons. Back to the house and when everyone had got into their nightwear we made chocolate bowls. Very messy but very yummy.

Day 3 in the Bendrigg Big House – Everyone was up and about sharpish this morning to pack their bags for our day out to Morecombe. Breakfast scoffed and off to the buses. On the way we had a singing competition with the singers receiving Haribos. Next up where riddles and teasers then who could spot the sea first, especially as the tide was out. We got to Happy Mount Park and made a beeline for the splash-park. There was a lack of water so Lyndsey phoned up to have it switched on. Those brave enough went in for a soaking and soon got acclimatised and had some fun. Some of our kids must have looked a right sight with their waterproof coats on running under the water, people passing by were giving us some funny looks especially when certain people (William and Franc) were wearing towels on their heads. It wasn’t long before other park users came into the splash park so we all got changed and went to the adventure playground. Katie and Ella were helping each other to monkey around, Blaize, Rachel, Gabrielle, William and Amelia had a go on the zip wire, Hannah and Holly were up a tree with Charlie and Connor favouring playing in the sand. Off for lunch next in the rose garden then the kids gave us their version of the scene from The Sound of Music in the Mirabelle Gardens of the Do, Re, Mi song on the steps, it didn’t go to plan so we played games instead. After lunch and back on the buses to go to the bowling. The kids were appointed to pick their adult competitors with Daniel being a popular choice for the girls with Karen and Franc assisting the other kid’s teams with the other adults in their own team. There were some weird and wonderful skills shown to get the bowling ball to hit the pins and that was with the sides up, some people had the knack of missing pins completely. Blaize was disappointed that he was not only beaten by Nicola, but by his mum Karen as well, but I am sure others helped to take his mind off it. A walk along the seafront was next up with Gemma tasking the kids with finding firstly the flattest stone and then the roundest stone with Gabrielle winning the latter. Down to the end of the pier next for a group photo and to hang on to our hats (a bit windy). As we strolled back along the pier we could almost smell our tea. Gemma, Vicky, Lyndsey and Helen had kindly gone to pick up our chippy tea and the food did not disappoint. Blaize took great delight In feeding the seagulls. Off to the beach for some fun and games with William and Franc beach-combing for marine life (crabs and jellyfish found) whilst others were enjoying flying kites and playing frizbee. Helen provided a ball game at which the kids were a bit good and of course we had our budding sand castle makers. Last one back to the bus and a game of who will fall asleep first. (Ella). Back to the house and sand cleaned from feet and ready for bed.

Day 4 in the Bendrigg Big House – Today was not for the faint hearted as it was all action. Our group was split into two teams with group 1 starting on the zip wire and bendy beam and group 2 on climbing and abseiling. Group 1 got right into the groove with the zip wire and they were all soon flying down the wire. Once safely back down to earth it was time to take the zip back up for the next person. Not content on just coming down the wire in a sensible fashion they decided on who could come down in the best pose with Rachel being the judge. The best was Holly with a brilliant photo to show off her pose. Next up for group 1 was the bendy beam so off we trekked to the woods for the next challenge. The next task consisted of balancing on a bendy beam (a log at a 90 degrees angle, held up by a rope) which was not for the faint hearted. This did not deter our motley bunch as they flew up it with the greatest of ease. Challenge next to see who could do it wearing a blind fold which resulted in free flying people which may have been more fun than walking the bendy beam.
Meanwhile Group 2 were back at the climbing wall and were all kitted up to get going. After a practice and a safety check there was a queue to see who was going up the wall first, but credit to the kids they formed an orderly queue and waited their turn and helped their friends by manning the safety ropes. I think we have some budding mountaineers amongst our lot as they made the climbing look so easy and not to be finished with that they abseiled back down and did it all again. After lunch the teams swapped activities and tried out the various challenges put in front of them by Gemma, Craig and Vicky. As group 2 had finished early and afternoon juice and biscuits had been devoured Gemma sorted out the Big Swing in the sports hall for anyone brave enough to have a go, as usual there was a queue waiting for their turn. I would love to show you all the photos of kids swinging around like King Louie from the Jungle Book but there was a serial photo bomber that looks just like Katie in almost every photo. We next went to the sensory room for a chill out and I am sure I heard some snoring coming from certain quarters. (Nicola) Back to the house for another scrumptious tea and we had to say goodbye to Daniel as he headed home and we got Nicole as a swap (not sure who gained from that one). After tea it was time for our budding archers. As the old site is being knocked down we were indoors, just as well with some of the shots that were fired. Safety briefing from Craig first then our first archers were ready, as a spectator sport it is not for the faint hearted as even though we where behind the safety line the antics of some of our archers would give you palpitations. Even though there were targets on the wall and quite big ones at that the characters were the ones that were mainly hit especially poor Mr Scarecrow with anything else looking fretful even though they were painted on. Back to the house for a hot drink and bedtime.

Day 5 in the Bendrigg Big House – Today was one of the best days out I have had in all the times I have visited Bendrigg. Our trip to the genteel waters of Lake Windermere for a spot of canoeing was in order and it did not disappoint. First up we all got kitted up and got on the buses for the journey. Once on the lakeside Gemma, Craig and Vicky soon had everyone manning the equipment and getting the boats ready for our adventure. Once the teams had been organised we set of from the shore. As it took a little while for our sea legs to settle we meandered towards the other side of the lake waving at tourists in the launches going up and down the lake. There was a little splashing happening between the boats, however it was no where near the main event that was to come later. Gemma thought it was time for a game so we played hunt the ducks which involved many a duck being adrift on the lake and our budding oars people had to find them. Just one or two clashes but thankfully no icebergs and on that note we have pictures of William and Connor recreating the scene from Titanic which they did justice. Another game to liven us up and where we nearly had a few swimming with the fishes. Everyone had to stand up then we played Head, Shoulders, Knees and wait for it Jump, yes 8 people in two canoes tied together all jumping at the same time, well as you can imagine it made for a very bumpy landing especially when the tourist boats went past which caused waves to coincide with our jumping, goodness knows what the tourists thought of our antics. Loch Ness has Nessie, Lake Windermere has families from the Friday Night Project playing silly buggers. We went to the castle grounds to have a run around interspersed by lunch, that’s if we could get the kids and some adults sitting long enough. Afterwards we made our way back to the canoes with Karen falling over like some dodgy football player (thankfully she was ok) and with the promise of delicious ice-cream we headed back across the water. Some budding extreme sports enthusiasts fancied jumping in the lake so we went to look for the perfect spot, as we couldn’t find anywhere safe enough we headed back to the jetty. As the boats neared the shore it was like a scene from a Pirates of the Caribbean or even Peppa Pig where everyone was in the water with an impromptu water fight. As people got soaked the mayhem and laughter continued the tourists were a bit agog as to what they where witnessing. Some people retreated to the shore to escape the soaking but were not clever enough to stay dry much to everyone’s amusement. Not content with being entirely soaked, the kids wanted to show off their Olympic bombing skills by jumping off the jetty into the lake. The fact it started raining did nothing to dampen the already well watered group and probably added a little humour to the state we were all in. Off to get changed where we could and get ready for ice cream. (yes Franc did wash his feet in the toilet sink). Off back to the centre and a few tired people were having a quick snooze. After tea it was time for our camp fire and as it was a little damp outside we had an indoor camp fire in a Yurt. Gemma got everyone going with a sing song then we proceeded to songs with actions which proved hilarious. Time for a breather and to toast marshmallows or smores (marshmallows in between two chocolate digestives) as we had. Then we had our obligatory activity game of the After Eight Challenge with the heat in the Yurt making for a very messy time. Congratulations to Gemma as it is her first time trying this specialist category of outdoor pursuits, with the state of her face she did pass with flying colours. After a few more sing a longs and movers and groover’s it was time to go back to the house. The option of camping out in the tee-pee was given to the kids for their last night. Ella, William and Connor took up the challenge with Lyndsey and Franc. With all the kit inside the tee-pee it was time for that traditional camping out ritual, midnight snack or 10.30ish in our case. Munchies had and with Connor asleep William and Ella decided it was time for a rave and by goodness rave they did, they both danced their little hearts out. Not to be outdone by the kids, Lyndsey and Franc started an impromptu rendition of 500 miles with the chorus line changed to Bobby Davro (I can almost here you singing it) and marching around the room with the kids in tow, with Connor fast asleep through the whole process. As the last candles decided to blow out the kids decided a warm bed was better than a draughty tee-pee so off we went to try and return to base with in the pitch black. I don’t think the SAS will be calling for us soon as even though we were in the middle of nowhere im sure we still managed to wake someone up with the stramash trying to get back. The kids got ready for bed and off they went not too late (honest Rebecca).

Day 6 in the Bendrigg Big House – All good things come to an end they say but our first residential for the Friday Night Project was better than good, in fact it was fantastic. Everyone up and had to do the mundane task of clearing up. When that was all sorted Gemma came to see us to hand out Certificates to all the children for their achievements and accomplishments. Some shy recipients but everyone was well worthy of theirs. As stated at the start of this blog, one of my aims for the Friday Night Project was to take our young people on a residential trip and we achieved that this week. I couldn’t be more proud of these resilient young people for overcoming their fears, and for their many firsts, their teamwork, their laughter and for making memories not only for themselves but for everyone and most of all for being them. You could throw anything at them and they will overcome in their own special way. Here’s looking forward to the next time.

Our thanks go to Gemma, Craig, Vicky and all the staff at Bendrigg for not only did they provide everything we needed for a great residential but they too became part of the Friday Night Project. Our thanks also go to the parents and carers that came along and for some who thought it would be a relaxing break, well that was short lived. We thank them for all their hard work not only during the residential but for all the other times during club days and fundraising. Now back to fundraising for our next holiday ( I fancy going to Wales next time).

Club Day – Friday 22nd July

As it was our last Friday before the summer holidays we had a little bit of a free for all in that parents and carers that do not normally attend where invited to see what we get up to. Our activity was chocolate and ice cream sundaes only made differently which involved balloons. Now at times our members either think for themselves, copy each other and on the odd occasion listen to instructions. Well as it happens it was the adults turn to display these characteristics much to the delight of the members. After the initial problem of the balloons actually staying blown up we got down to the business of the first part of the task. Sue, one of our parents was the first culprit of not listening as she had completely covered her balloon with chocolate and then didn’t know where to put her hands, next a balloon went pop with chocolate covering anything near by namely Vishal. As the creations were made the next step of magic began happening, everyone started to eat left over chocolate. When the masterpieces where created it was time to fill them with ice-cream and to tuck in along with sausage rolls, crisps, sweets, juice and anything else edible.

During the holidays the club is taking part in its first Residential at Bendrigg in the Lake District for 5 days of canoeing, caving, zip wire, orienteering, climbing, abseiling, archery and various other outdoorsy type of stuff. Another first for the Friday Night Project. Watch this space to see what we got up to. See you in September.

CVS Charity Fair – Monday 13th June

In our third year of attending the fair organised by those lovely people at the CVS. Karen and Franc set up whilst Nicola was having a lie-in. Our stalls consisted of a selection of cakes and treats and a collection of prizes to be won on the tombola. Franc opted to sell the cakes whereas the girls acquired the tombola. All was quiet at first with a few window shoppers until try before you buy was offered on the cake stall. The idea was to entice the customers into buying the products but instead Karen, Franc and Nicola thought they were for breakfast and lunch. A few customers were determined to win a prize on the tombola so we included a prize every time, now some people may not think that a candy cane is a prize but it is better than fresh air. One customer on the cake stall thought it was an all you can eat buffet and in her defence said she would like to try before you buy and in fairness she did buy quite a lot, after her second stint at the buffet. The tombola set off at a furious pace after lunch (more cakes) with winners coming thick and fast and a small crowd gathered. As the cake sales slowed (if I hear I am diabetic once more I will scream) we came up with the idea of if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain then we will take the mountain (of cakes) to Mohammed. Nicola and Franc filled a box with goodies and off Nicola went to encourage people to treat themselves to some cake. Karen and Franc readied the stalls for the final on-slot of bargain hunters. Nicola returned empty handed and the final melee began. I have never seen a queue so big for a tombola before, people were frantically clambering for the tickets, it was like a scene from the TV coverage of the fights for the sought after Christmas toy in a high street shop. Meanwhile Franc had a captive audience as people decided to queue past the cake stall and as the sale had started well, it would be rude not to sell the people waiting for tombola tickets some cake they didn’t want or need but as others were doing so, perhaps they felt obliged. All the tombola lots where gone and not a cake was left for the pigeons. One lady asked hopefully if we would be back next week to which the reply was try ‘next year’, whilst another lady informed us that from her bounty of tombola wins, the ones she doesn’t like she will give to her friends for Christmas. So if you receive a grow your own Christmas Tree (just add water) or a spoon informing you that you are the world’s biggest stirrer you know where they came from. Thanks go to Karen, Nicola and their chaperone Franc to keep them in check for a brilliant fundraising day for the Friday Night Project. Nicola has already asked when we are doing the next one.

Rotary Charity Walk Sunday 15th May

9.15am on a lovely Sunday morning and what could be better than a stroll along the canal with a group of friends. We met at the car park at the start and checked in and we were soon on our merry way. The fact that the first 500 metres was uphill was met with a few groans but as soon as we got on the canal path those blues were banished. Franc and Aden were at the front with Blaize intermittently alongside then Adam, Charlotte and Bradley behind. Charlotte thought there was only our group and not the other 2000 people as well completing the walk (she is just getting used to us). Bradley was asking who let the dogs out, never mind the dogs, what about some of our motley bunch? Nicola, Daniel and Ella were our back markers with John and Jack then Karen and Lyndsey somewhere in the middle. There was a little confusion a couple of times on how far we had actually walked but that question was soon quelled on the production of cake and drinks. Not sure what all the wildlife thought of us lot tramping around the canal but at least the last leg was downhill. At the finish line certificates were collected and photos taken. Some of the group even made it in to the local paper. Another great fundraising day for the Friday Night Project.

Chester Zoo Saturday 19th March

We met at McDonalds for a pit stop before making our way to the Zoo in a convoy of cars. In Karen’s car the kids were treated to Disney and Christmas Songs whilst in Nicola’s car they were probably all sleeping. We got to the Zoo for opening time and made our way in. Rachel, Gabrielle and Courtney preferred to see the sights as a group, whereas the rest of us had a wander together. Lyndsey sorted out various vouchers for freebies coached by Nicola. First up it was safari time in the Jeep for lots of photos, next we went to see the Rhino’s and we were not sure where the smell was coming from, Daniel. Lyndsey was looking for somewhere to fill up her volcano cup as it just kept erupting everywhere. Off to see the Painted Dogs sleeping and then Bradley and Adam caught up with us for the boat ride. I’m surprised we made it to the end with some of the antics the crew were displaying. Bradley decided it was time for a snack and had his sandwich. Off to see Tigger next and then onto the monkeys. We went to see the lions next and then had our lunch or more like a chimp’s tea party. We went on the monorail to see the animals from above with Bradley keeping us entertained with his commentary. Through the bat’s enclosure next and Kelly nearly passed away when one got too close. Off to see some big cats next and my favourite the Sloth. The penguins were in for a swim and the giant otters were having fish fingers for tea. Ella was constantly taking pictures of anything that moved and Hayden enjoyed playing peanuts, Blaize just couldn’t get enough man hugs and quite often had rosy cheeks, not sure why. We met up with the girls on our travels with Courtney with her never ending tub of candy floss and Rachel and Gabrielle looking for Red Pandas and Bats. The younger ones were beginning to tire by this point so we followed Daniel to find Nemo before we went to brave the gift shop. Nicola kept us supplied with treats all afternoon, whilst the free hot drinks warmed many a hand and Nicola did so well she got a badge. Everyone spent up before Nicola and Karen produced sweets for the way home. Adam was there as well but he forgot to bring his coat so he was cold, bless him. Everyone got home safely, and a BIG THANK YOU to our drivers KAREN, NICOLA and ADAM, our organiser LYNDSEY and for all the kids and adults from the Friday Night Project for another fantastic day out.

Jack and the Beanstalk – Sunday 3rd January

We all met at the theatre to give everyone a last hurrah before going back to school. In the foyer, staff at the theatre were on hand to give out programmes and light up hair bands, the lads missed out on that one. Supplies at the ready and off to our seats. Everyone settled and it was time for curtains up. As it was the last performance of the production there were plenty of mishaps and fun. The group soon became involved in all the singing and dancing with Bradley keeping everyone entertained at the front. Nicole was not acting her age but her shoe size and I secretly think she wanted to be on the stage, not sure which character she could have been though. Being on the front rows does come with some danger as we found out by getting soaked from a dog and covered in foam from the cake making scene. At the interval supplies of ice cream and drinks where delivered to us and soon everyone was diving in. Fed and watered it was time for the finale but first some audience participation. I was quite surprised at my sudden fan club wanting me to be part of the show. I did notice who were the loudest shouting out my name and pointing, Ellie, Nicole, Kyle, Megan, Ella to name but a few, I didn’t know I was so popular and yes I will get my own back. Some of the group were pointed out by the performers for their good looks (back of a bus), and their enthusiasm. The final song was enjoyed by everyone waving their arms or in Megan’s case her feet were being waved. A brilliant performance by all the actors and another great day out for all at the Friday Night Project. Our thanks to all the staff at Thwaites Theatre for looking after us and for giving us a day to remember. Sinbad is next (oh yes it is).

Christmas Fun and Games – Friday 18th December

Our last club of the year was extended till 7pm as we had our fun and games. First up was Bingo whilst we waited for everyone to arrive. After sorting out the machine we started. I think some of the kids missed numbers because of the callers accent. Our first game was won by Ella I think. Next up was decorating Christmas Cookies to hang on your tree. Prize to anyone that brings a picture to club of it hanging from your tree as im not sure many made it home. We had our Christmas Buffet next and everyone soon dived in and got their fill, and for dessert lots of cakes kindly donated by Nicola, Karen and Nicole. Time for a tidy up so Derek, Adam and Franc bravely volunteered to play hockey with the kids. Teams were picked and it turned out girls against boys with the exemption of Adam who was in the girls team. The girls were unstoppable sailing into an unattainable lead and the boys were happy enough playing second fiddle. Some goals were not as they seemed as the only rule we have is the adults goals are not counted, excuses of it was me or it hit me in the way in soon came from the kids. Hockey finished and lots of energy expelled we made marshmallow snowmen and I have yet to see the likes of some of the snowmen in any garden or park. Our final hoorah was more bingo and as it turned out everybody won a prize. Our second year has come to a close and what another fantastic year full of activities, fun and firsts we have had. Our club is growing in numbers and making a difference to so many more people. Our thanks go to all the volunteers, kids, parents and carers and anybody that has supported us over the year.

Tubing at Ski Rossendale – Saturday 12th December

Singing in the rain we may not have been but we sure did have fun. Hopefully some of the adults will listen next time when we advise that they will get wet. I was wetter than when we went kayaking at Bowley recently when I was in the pond helping out. We had a few first timers with us this time and I think it exceeded their expectations. The rule of the tubing is the wetter the better and with the recent weather we have been having it was the fastest it has been so far. First up was Connor, followed by Chris then Ella persuaded Karen to accompany her downhill. Blaize, Brandyn and Jack with dad John soon followed. There was no let up with it constantly raining and there was no let up on the stream of people going uphill for a go. Michelle and Nicola had a go on their own and they were louder than the kids. Franc was commandeered by the kids one by one to go down with them and Jack was sacrificed when it came to hitting the toblerones. We took some hazy pictures, however the camera has been poorly since and had to go to the camera doctor to get some new juice. Another intrepid local activity out for the Friday Night Project. What will 2016 bring? Pantomime first in January? OH YES IT IS..

Coopers Critters – Friday 4th December

Becky kindly brought her motley bunch of weird and wonderful creatures to see ours. First up was the tortoises or little and large. The kids enjoyed holding these animals and finding out all about them. Next up was some slimly snails and the kids had a go at acting like one, there were a few turned up noses when asked to hold this one. The snake was next which proved popular with the kids having it wrapped around their necks, arms and legs, the expressions on some of their faces from overcoming their fears are priceless. The frog was a bit of a show off climbing up the window then jumping over obstacles which the kids thought was amazing. Next up was the very tiny dormouse which the kids took a liking to with everyone wanting to entertain it. The monitor lizard was next to catch the kids curiosity and capture their attention with the skunk last but not least to become the favourite amongst the kids because it was lovely, soft and cuddly even though Ella wanted to see a green puff of smoke if the skunk pumped as it does on a cartoon. Thanks to Becky for bringing her animal family to see us again and we will look forward to the next time.

Archery, Crate Stack and Kayaking – Saturday 14th November

Off to our second home of Bowley for another fun filled day of activities. First up was Archery and our eager beavers were ready to go. Safety talk first then the arrows started to fly. Some unorthodox ways of hitting the target via the floor which I think is a specialised skill. All the kids had a go before the adults where let loose. Rachel either had something in her eye or was winking at someone when it was her turn, Kelly and Michelle couldn’t believe they hit the target let alone shot an arrow and the rest of us where grateful for a go as the kids where chomping at the bit for more go’s.

The Zip Wire was closed for safety reasons so we went to crate stack. After the safety talk, William and Connor were first to try and balance their way to the most crates stacked followed by Callam and Hayden who were like the chuckle brothers. Nicole and Chi were up next and a little bit of bending of the rules me thinks as they were using three crates instead of two like the others. Chi was doing a bit of R Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly, next up were the little un’s Ella and Megan and they were like Siamese twins stuck together and did extremely well. Courtney and Gabrielle were very patient and were last to go. It was like the blind leading the blind but they had a blast.

After lunch the kids descended on the water. Safety buoyancy aids on, paddles collected and off onto the water. Well it wasn’t long before we had our first water baby Courtney, I don’t know what the biggest shock was, falling in or the coldness of the water but Courtney didn’t mind and got back in her kayak, just as well her hair doesn’t go curly when it is wet as she has loads. Courtney was quickly followed by Hayden, Blaize and Nicole in spectacular style. Franc’s trick of walking on water didn’t last as he was soon knee deep in the water helping out. The kids had a ball on the water and had the time of their lives.

A big thank you to all the kids and their parents for turning up on a wet and miserable day, they all soon changed it to a day full of firsts, fun, laughter and memories made and we have the pictures to prove it. Another brilliant group day out for the Friday Night Project. Next up Tubing

Blackpool Illuminations – Saturday 3rd October

We all got the bus at our usual pick up point and set off on our way. Sweets were handed out and everybody was happy. Not too much traffic to get through till we parked up but the fact that Blackpool F.C. were playing at home didn’t help. We set off to go to for our Chippy tea and when we arrived our tables were ready for us. Everyone got their meals with Michelle enquiring if the fish had come from the sea in Blackpool. After we had filled our boots with delicious food we set off on our merry way to the sea front.

The illuminations were not on as yet when we got to the front so Jack and Franc went for a play on the beach, with Jack making a bee line for the water. They were followed by Brandyn, Michelle and Callam whilst Connor, Blake and Nicole walked along the sea wall. The illuminations came on and all the trams were lit up. Some of the kids acquired light sabres and the like to give us a bit of a light show. Pictures were taken of the lights, the steam engines going past and everyone enjoying themselves.

We made it to the tower then went to the fudge shop for goodies. We headed back to the bus and David our driver took us through the rest of the lights then we made our way home. A few tired people on the bus and I think Michelle fell asleep first. Another brilliant group day out.

Our thanks go to all the staff at Bentley’s Chippy on Bond Street in Blackpool for making us so welcome and providing tasty delicious food again and we will see you next year. To David our bus driver especially for dropping people off at home as we got back so late. And for all the kids and their families for another great off site activity.

Martin Mere Animal World – Saturday 12th September

We all met to catch the bus to Martin Mere at 9.00am. Michelle kindly passed the sweets around and we were on our way. Plenty of chatter on the way there and the odd “are we nearly there yet”. We got there and Jack ran straight through the first puddle he could see and after a quick toilet stop we went on our merry way to explore with maps in hand. First up was a look at the giant Tortoise then the Llamas and the donkeys. We found out about some snakes with a chance to hold them for the brave then it was on to see the Owls, Kestrels and another chance to learn about them.

We had a wander to see the Otters and then the chance to try the Stepping Stones. On to the Flamingos and lots of different wildfowl. We had a walk through the different area’s of the world feeding the animals,some by hand and even being followed by them. Derek was like Dr Dolittle with all the animals following him.

We went back to the centre to have our packed lunches and sat inside to eat. As we were all fed and watered it was time to hit the park. The kids and Derek and John had a ball playing in the water park, Michelle and Nicole were on the zip wire and swing. Luke, Connor, Blake and Adam were seeing who could come down the slide the silliest. Jack and Brandon were taking turns seeing who could get soaked. Ryan and Mason enjoyed playing in the sand and the see-saw.

After the park we went to the bird hides to see if we could spot anything unusual apart from us lot. We seen plenty of swans and geese and then we went to the biggest hide were we could all see the Marsh.

Next we went through the Aviary to see the black swans, cranes and other weird and wonderful birds. Off to the canoes next and David took Conner and Luke as his rowing companions. Mason was having a siesta and John, Michelle, Franc and Lyndsey were having a hot drink whilst the rest of the kids played in the adventure playground.

John and Michelle had an experience by using the organic toilets and David returned from the canoeing a lot wetter than when he went in with Luke and Connor being the obvious candidates.

We made our way back to the centre for a look in the shop and a toilet stop before returning to the bus for our journey home. Our thanks to David for driving the bus and to the staff at Martin Mere.

Another great group day out for the Friday Night Project.

Residential at Bendrigg 1st – 8th August & 8th – 15th August

Both weeks run to the same timetable however, different members attended on different weeks. First up on the Saturday was meet and greet, tea and then a walk to the local sailing reservoir which gave everyone a chance to talk to each other and make new friends. Once at the reservoir we had a stone skipping competition then hot chocolate and biscuits. Back to the centre and the children some free time before getting ready for bed.

Sunday morning and after a hearty breakfast the kids set off on their teams activity for the day. Team 1 took part in canoeing on Lake Windermere, Team 2 went caving near Ribblehead Viaduct and Team 3 were on-site climbing, abseiling, indoor caving, zip wire and the big swing. After tea it was free time so the kids could go on the big slide, chill room, badminton, table tennis, basketball.

On Monday the teams swapped around to try a different activity that they had not done yet. After tea it was a sing song around the camp fire then toasted marshmallows. Hot chocolate was had before bed.

Tuesday was our group day out. We went to Happy Mount Park in Morecombe in which some of the kids went to the splash park, train ride, crazy golf, adventure play area, tennis. We had our packed lunches in the park then made our way to the bowling alley to see who could come out on top. Afterwards we had a walk to the end of the pier for a group photo then fish and chips on the promenade. Time for a spot of kite flying or being buried by sand on the beach. Back to the centre for hot chocolate and bed. Many kids were already asleep n the bus.

Wednesday was final team activity day so that everyone had a go at the different activities. Back to the centre for tea and a catch up. Choice time again with the rope course open, adapted bicycles, or chill time.

Thursday was challenge day whereby the teams had a set of challenges cumulating in a it’s a knockout race or two. Challenges included orienteering, zip wire target throw, archery, big slide attempts followed by a team sack race, team parachute challenge, team doughnut challenge and finally the cheesy wotsit challenge. To end the challenges there was a free for all water fight and no one was left dry. After tea it was chill out time and choice time.

Friday was choice time for the kids. In the morning the choices were abseiling from a 100ft quarry, kayaking on the reservoir or on site for climbing and abseiling. After a group lunch at the centre the afternoon choices were kayaking, outdoor swimming pool, on-site. After tea it was the Friday Night Disco which is always popular to boogie the night away.

Saturday it was time to pack up, receive certificates and say goodbye to old and new friends. The kids had a ball all week and it is credit to the Rebecca Hargreaves and the volunteers who give up their holidays to enable the kids to enjoy this experience. A big THANK YOU to PHAB for providing the holiday’s and hopefully we will all be back next year.

Lightwater Valley Friday 24th July

We set off on our annual BIG DAY OUT to Lightwater Valley Theme Park on a lovely sunny day. Sweets were handed out on the bus and the fun began. Plenty of I-spy then who could work out the riddles and the occasional “are we nearly there yet”. We arrived and got a friendly welcome from the cartoon characters then waited on the others that were arriving by car.

First up for most was the biggest and best theme park rollercoaster the Ultimate. It is not for the faint hearted and a few found that out. My companion for the ride was William who at first had said “never again” after the first
drop to ” this is brilliant and can we go on again” at the end. Next up was the Ladybird Coaster for the younger kids and then the Pirate Ship before the Rolling Barrels. There were no queues on any of the rides so far. The kids went on the Black Widows Web and Camels next and then our first water slide of the day.

After lunch we took it easy with a ride on Swan Lake, ours seemed to have its wings clipped as it was going nowhere fast. Next up a step back in time on the Carousel and the Flying Swings. On to the Farm for a Tractor Ride whilst Lyndsey and Callam dared to go where no-one else would, an upside down, twirling, swirling ride named Eagles Claw. The Twister beckoned for those that were tall enough whilst some of the others went for a soaking on the Wild River Rapids. As a group we went on the Raptor Attack which was in the dark, I think the screams were from the adults rather than the kids. One last go on the Ultimate and Ladybird respectively for our thrill-seekers and then we played see who will fall asleep on the bus first, with Amelia being the winner. Again another fantastic day out for the Friday Night Project. Our thanks go to all the members and their families and carers for their ongoing support of our club.

Next up a week long residential for four of our members at Bendrigg in the Lake District 1st-8th August

Archery & Zip Wire Saturday 6th June

We all met at our second home of Bowley Scout Camp to take part in Archery first. We had our safety talk then the budding archers got ready to have a go. Alex was coached by Bronya, which was like the blind leading the blind and Luke and Reece tried out their own bows. Christopher, Callam and Jake had a go at the target, followed by Nicole, Blake, Connor and Mikey. The adults also had a go which maybe wasn’t the best idea as I think maybe their sight is going.
Next up we had our lunch and our customary task of the After Eight game. Many a forehead was left with chocolate marks and the sweets were duly scoffed.
Treasure hunt next with some cheating by the adults who failed to realise it was a team game. The outcome was decided by a physical tie break.
Zip Wire next for our trepid adventurers. Ladies first so off Nicole went, followed by youngest to oldest. Each turn taken was met with a shriek or a scream as the kids were trying to emulate their peers with who could go down the wire the silliest.

Another Brilliant fun filled day out for the Friday Night Project.

Tubing @ Ski Rossendale – Saturday 2nd May

Rain did not stop play for our hardy members as we took on Tubing at Ski Rossendale on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Callam nearly beat the staff member to the top followed quickly by Connor, Christopher, Nicole and Alex. As our resident screamer Alex didn’t disappoint as we heard him before we seen him and Callam gave him a run for his money as loudest screamer. The kids had learned from last time that the heavier the tube the faster they go and started asking the adults politely to accompany them on the descent, much to some of their horror and the kids amusement. The kids wanted a faster ride again so higher up the hill they went. Me thinks the adults had a great time as well as the kids. Our thanks go to the staff at Ski Rossendale for looking after us.

Singing Workshop – 6 Week Session started on 1st May

Janet (singing teacher) and Simon (Guitarist) are providing a music workshop over 6 sessions. The children and adults have been learning how to prepare themselves to sing, starting with their breathing exercises and warming up. The children are learning various songs to perform in front of their families. A work in progress.

Tubing – Saturday 2nd May – Our second visit to the Tubing proved just as enjoyable as the first. Although the sun did not shine I think the wet weather enhanced the speed of the tubes coming down the hill as the safety equipment at the bottom took a fair bashing. Callam was first up to experience the hill and we heard him before we seen him. Callam was followed by Connor, Christopher, Nicole, and our honorary member and resident screamer Alex. The adults didn’t get a chance to mingle as the children knew from our past visit that the heavier the tube, the faster it would travel. The children started to pick off the adults for a turn. Another great day out for the Friday Night Project and everyone had a wet bottom to prove it. Our thanks go again to the Brilliant staff at Ski Rossendale.

Charity Walk – Sunday 17th May – Our second year of taking part in the 10k Rotary Charity Walk. We all met at the start and signed in for our stickers. All the children and adults put on their Friday Night Project Hoodies and off we went. It was as you can imagine a slow start as everyone was working out who they were going to accompany around the walk. Dave and his motley bunch went off at pace and David, Franc and Reece were the back markers. Janine, Becky, Mikey and Bradley took a detour and took over everyone. The weather was good and everyone had a great day especially at our stop off point for cake and ice-cream. Group photos at the end and certificate’s all round. Friday Night Project would like to thank all the members that have collected sponsor money and this will be put towards our annual day trip to Lightwater Valley Theme Park.

Sybil the Scientist – Friday 22nd May – Well Sybil (cousin of washboard Annie) the scientist turned up and I must say she was a little eccentric. Sybil set up her lab and then introduced herself to our group. Sybil got the kids involved straight away with the brave ones tasting tripe and then recreating how a stomach works (not for the queasy ones). The children enjoyed wearing the lab coat, goggles and various other pieces of scientific apparatus. The children got to put themselves under the microscope and see what they were made up of. Another experience that the members and parents/carers have enjoyed at the Friday Night Project.

Coopers Critters – Friday 27th February 2015

Becky brought her array of fascinating creatures to show our members. First up Becky brought out 2 millipedes and explained all about them then it was the land snails, the children had a go at trying to be a snail much to everyone’s amusement. Next up was the tarantula followed by the bearded dragon which was fortunately not breathing fire. It was then the turn for the snake which even the adults had a hold of, the tortoise was up next followed by a very large rabbit that was a crowd pleaser. One of the kids even fancied a go in the rabbit cage. The skunk was another favourite by the older ones followed by my favourite the albino hedgehog. The millipedes made another appearance for the ones that missed them the first time around. All the kids were very attentive to what Becky was saying, they were asking questions and having a brilliant time. The photos are brilliant to. Our thanks go to Becky for bringing her animals to meet us.

Space Centre – Wednesday 18th February 2015

We all met in the café at the Space Centre. In we went and the kids that had not been before went exploring and the others jumped in the ball pool. The little ones commandeered the soft steps and the slide much to their amusement whilst some of the others had a chill out in the infinity and light and sound dens. We had a bout of jousting with the loser ending up in the ball pool. The bubble tube was popular as were the mirrors. A few tired faces at the end but no sleeping till after the juice and fruit kindly provided by Kath at the centre. Next up Coopers Critters

1st Birthday Awards Lunch Sunday 18th January 2015 at The Villa Restaurant in Clitheroe

We descended on the Villa to have our 1st Birthday Awards Lunch. Everyone looked very dapper in their Sunday best. As we had pre-ordered our food it was a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy someone else’s cooking and they did not disappoint. The food was marvellous and everyone had a brilliant meal. Next up was the Awards ceremony. One of our committee members, Rebecca presented the awards to the children and volunteers. They all received a personalised trophy, a certificate detailing their own personal achievements over the year, a jar of Friday Night Project personalised M & M’s and a FNP Birthday Card from M & M’s. All in all it was another brilliant Friday Night Project Group Outing. Our thanks to Pino, the staff and chef’s at The Villa for their continued support of our group and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Dick Whittington Pantomime at Thwaites Theatre Saturday 3rd January 2015

We all met at the theatre and had a catch up. Sweets and drinks sorted we made our way to our front row seats. Everyone got comfy in time for curtain up. The panto was full of sing songs and mischief which the children and adults all loved, there were some giddy kippers in our group. At the interval stocks of sweets and drinks were replenished and ice cream was had by most. Speaking to everyone I think there are a few budding actors amongst us, adults and children alike (oh yes there is).
Curtain up for the second half and by now everyone had found their voice to be shouting the likes of “he’s behind you”, “Boo”, “oh no you didn’t” and of course “oh yes we did”. Being at the front it was inevitable to be covered in something which turned out to be water which brought a few shrieks. Another brilliant day out for the children and their parents/carers from the Friday Night Project.

Christmas Extravaganza at Bowley Friday 5th December 2014

After club we made our way in convoy to what seems to becoming our favourite place. We checked in with the aptly dressed Kris Kringle who gave the children Christmas bags to collect their goodies in then he took us to the start of the extravaganza. First up was pictures on the sleigh followed by making Christmas tree decorations. Best handwriting next to write a letter to Santa and post it in the post-box that Postman Pat kindly came to collect along with Jess. Next up was the toy makers in which he made some Lego then gave out toys to the children. Ring toss was next to secure the next gift followed by decorating gingerbread festive biscuits. Time for a story and all the children sat and listened intently and joined in on cue. Next it was time to meet the main man, Santa was in his grotto with his helpers. Pictures and gifts aplenty. Another brilliant group activity out.

Pamper Pole, Treasure Hunt and Grass Sledging at Bowley Saturday 15th November.

We all met at Bowley ready for another action packed day. First up was the Pamper Pole. Luke was like a rat up a drainpipe and tried the leap of faith narrowly missing the target ball. Sean had a wobble at the top and he also just missed the target. Reece, Connor, Christopher,Owen pampered the pole whilst Lillia could only go as far as Phil could reach. Kai and Mason were avid spectators and enjoyed the spectacle. Dave was the only adult participant and made it to the top.

Next up was lunch, so the packed lunches were had and goodies devoured.

One of our parents David kindly had set out a treasure hunt for the group and off we went in our teams to find the clues. The result was a draw, however it had become who could get the muddiest.

Next up was grass sledging. We took off up the hill with our sledges and formed an orderly melee to see who was going first. Dave’s instruction was to miss the pot hole and guide yourself to safety. It was easier said than done but everyone that had a go and enjoyed themselves immensely, it was a close call to see who had got the furthest but we think Hayley and Lillia may have edged it. I personally had a go and in my quest for going the furthest I came off at speed and rolled over like a dodgy footballer.

Tubing at Ski Rossendale on Saturday 18th October

Another glorious sunny day greeted our thrill seekers at the ski slope. We started on the nursery slope but our attendant Lee realised our motley bunch wanted more speed. So over to the main slope where the hill did not disappoint. First up the hill were the kids followed by the excitable adults. The screams of joy and shrieks of laughter from all made sure that you didn’t want to miss your go. There was a constant stream of people on their way to the top. Not even the offer of chocolate stopped the kids.

Wanting more adventure the troupe started to go down two by two realising the heavier the load, the faster the tube went and the safety barriers at the bottom took a fair bashing. The enthusiasm of everyone did not let up all day and the support that everyone gave each other was fantastic. The kids helped to put the tubes away at the end and our thanks go to Lee who was brilliant and obviously enjoys his job.

Our adventurers were Lyndsey, Bronya, David, Rebecca, Dave, Franc, Emma, Sue, Alex, Reece, Sean, Connor, Luke, Ellie, Mason, and Christopher.

Next up Leap of Faith and Grass Sledging, come and join us and see what you are missing.

Welcome to our Friday Night Project. A club for children and young people aged 0-17 with disabilities.