Achievement Bute kids take over Mount Stuart

Some of the participating kids and staff in front of one of their dens.
Some of the participating kids and staff in front of one of their dens.

Achievement Bute’s programme of summer activities for Bute kids continued with the ‘big dens week’.

Local children set off in teams for Mount Stuart every day last week, building dens in the house’s grounds from salvaged material with the help of Achievement Bute staff and volunteers.

Another of the dens with its proud builders.

Another of the dens with its proud builders.

The week culminated in the children showing off their creations to parents and carers on Friday.

A judging panel of Mount Stuart Trust staff also handed out prizes for the best made dens.

Andy McDonald works for Achievement Bute, and helped out with the den-building week.

He said: “The kids end up becoming really close with the others on their teams, you can see the sense of achievement as the week goes on.

“It’s a fun couple of days and overall the weather has been pretty good.

“The only downside is the midges!”

Andy (17) has worked with Achievement Bute for two months, and says it is a fulfilling job to have: “It’s a lot of work but it doesn’t really feel like work most of the time.

“It’s about getting kids out of their comfort zones and helping them to experience things they wouldn’t get to otherwise.

“You can see how much they get out of it.”

Donna Chisholm is the house and events manager at the Mount Stuart Trust, and has been involved in the dens week since it began around 10 years ago.

She told the Buteman: “The whole week has been great fun.

“There’s more to it than building dens, it’s about social interaction and just letting kids be kids.

“It’s become a real mainstay here, some of the kids that used to come along and build dens themselves are volunteering here now, and some of them now work for Achievement Bute.”

Achievement Bute was set up in 1998 by parents of children with disabilities, and now provides inclusive activities through term time and the summer for children and young people.

The ‘wee dens week’ is now underway at Mount Stuart, giving children between the ages of five and eight the chance to get involved too.