Cumbernauld children enjoy Elev8 project pilot

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:17 BST on Friday 20th July 2012.

Children from throughout Cumbernauld have just ended a week of fun activities, courtesy of the Salvation Army.

In a week-long holiday programme, which is known as Elev8, local children aged between 7 and 12 years old, enjoyed activities such as rap, graffiti art and street.

Elev8 is run by the Salvation Army’s main two kids groups, Kidz R Kool and In Touch, who utilise contemporary mediums such as music, dance, drama, graffiti art, Mc/Djing and craft to give children a voice in the local community, with the programme encouraging participation by all children regardless of their ability. 

Lieutenant Joanna Moir, Cumbernauld corps, said: "This has been a fantastic week for the children offering them an opportunity to be active and take part in fun activities through a safe, fun environment during the summer holidays. We are there when people need us and with the heavy rain this week parents and kids have jumped at the chance to get involved.”

The In Touch sports element of the programme affords children the opportunity to get involved in a variety of sports ranging from football, rugby, quick cricket, netball, tennis, volleyball, and athletics. Participants receive professional training during the week, allowing them to nurture existing skills and develop their individual sporting abilities.

Participating children select from the above options and then receive professional instruction to discuss and unpack the theme. Their views and feedback then constitute lyrics to a song, or form the basis for the drama script, dance routines and craft activities. 

The Elev8 programme is part of a UK pilot, with Cumbernauld selected as the first location, commented Lieutenant Joanna Moir: “We have had 50 kids attending daily pushing us up to full capacity with almost half attending our regular Friday club and the other half having heard through word of mouth. We have learned so much from the kids and their enthusiasm has been amazing.

“The activities are free with the week being funded as a Pilot project from our London based children ministries unit. The kids have fed into the programme of activities by telling us what they would like to do culminating in a showcase event on Friday where the kids will display to parents and guardians all the things they have learned during the week.

Lieutenant Moir added: “The children have been enthusing about the week to family and friends: Chloe Hayden, 9, said: "I went to the dance class and had loads of fun. I’ve met new friends, had loads of fun and got to make a mess in other activities like graffiti art which I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do.”

Skye Chatterton, 13, said: “It’s made the holidays a lot less boring. I got to try new activities that I had never tried before. I’ve made new friends and it’s been so much fun.”

Kieran Hanna, 11, said: “It’s the most awesome thing ever and I have had a chance to try really cool things like writing my own rap song and recording it. My rap name is K-Dog and I hope to keep writing songs after the club is finished. I already attend the corps Friday club and want to go on Sunday’s as well now as I’ve had so much fun.”

This week’s pilot activities were focussed around the Olympic themes of teamwork, getting fit and understanding the world around us.

Benedict Mwendwa, Territorial Children’s Advocate, Children’s Ministries Unit, said: “The holiday programme has had fantastic take up with more kids attending every day. The most important thing for us was that the kids would have fun, learn new skills and meet new friends. The place has been full of energy and demonstrates our belief of changing peoples’ live within communities.

“Cumbernauld corps was selected as it already carries out fantastic work locally and that this programme allows them to enhance the support available to local children and the community. Our visit to Scotland has been a joy and reflects the hope we had for the success of the programme. We will take away what we have learned and it will help to shape the programme going forward.”