Davina, Brian, Maggie and John enjoyed a great trip with young carers at the beginning of April. Davina wrote this piece as a reminder for us all of the great experiences given to young people through WExp… 

On Friday 5th April three girls and three boys aged between 8 and 12 years old, joined four volunteers  aboard Close Shave for what we hoped would be a great weekend, and a great weekend it was! After the safety talk and introductions, that evening we took a short trip through a few locks, mooring at Hunton Bridge for the night. Some of the kids were helping out at the locks straight away, and some wanted to relax onboard and do some colouring. This allowed us some time to get to know each other. After pizza and chips for dinner, we all spent some time  chatting and playing games. The kids seemed really excited to be onboard which was wonderful to see. With everyone getting on famously, we knew it would be a wonderful trip. 

We woke up early, had a lovely cooked breakfast, and we set off on our way. We headed off to Cassiobury Farm. The owner very kindly opened up just for us so we had the farm all to ourselves. Here the kids got to see some amazing animals. The crew enjoyed it and the kids seemed to have a fantastic time – gave it millions and zillions out of 10 when asked later – and we spent quite a bit of time here before moving on towards Rickmansworth where we moored up for the evening. We popped to Tesco and then went to a local park to play,  taking some ball games and frisbees. Those who went had a delicious roast dinner waiting for us upon our return from the park and after dinner the kids played nicely together at the back of the boat. Sunday morning we went to look at Roger, an old working canal boat so the kids could learn about how canal boats were used in the olden days and how families used to live. After this, we headed back towards home and despite some wet weather, it was lovely to see everyone having a go at working the locks and steering the boat. Once back at base, we all said our goodbyes.

Over the weekend, some of the kids wanted to help out at all the locks, some wanted to just relax or chat, some played games and did colouring, and they all enjoyed blowing bubbles! But however they spent their time, it was spent with enjoyment. To give these special kids a weekend to remember, a new experience, and a couple of days to relax, away from the difficulties they face in their everyday lives. I hope they will take away fond memories of their time on the boat, and have made some lasting friendships. I am so proud of them, and to have spent the weekend with such an inspirational, fun and caring group of young people.