A group of 7 Birkdale sixth-formers has just returned from Hengyang in China where they helped to run summer activities for disabled children and young people in an International China Concern orphanage. This charity has worked with the local government run Hengyang Welfare Centre since 2004 to provide care and education for these children, many of whom are seriously disabled. They have seen those in their care make huge progress when they receive focused attention.

Before travelling into mainland China, the sixth-formers had the opportunity to spend time engaging in activities with disabled young people at a respite care Day Centre in Hong Kong which was useful preparation for their time at the orphanage in Hengyang. Here, they were attached to a small group of children or young adults to help look after during the day. They organised a number of activities, ranging from craft or music to time spent in the swimming pool for pool based activities. This was not only exciting for the children but gave their Chinese carers some much appreciated respite. They also had the chance to spend time with the young people who live in Community Homes, including having lunch with them.

This is the fourth time that Birkdale sixth-formers have been involved in Summer Camps to Hengyang, with previous trips in 2011, 2013 and 2016. Building on this, several Birkdale families now sponsor children at the orphanage as part of the ongoing relationship and support for the orphanage.

Anyone interested in supporting the work of this charity is invited to get involved in the Walk the Wall Sheffield event on Saturday 22 September around the Chatsworth Estate – either as a walker, or a sponsor. See: https://www.walkthewall.org/sheffield/Birkdale