Apex supports Willowfield Parish Community Association to take local children on a Narnia experience
“… but some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again…” – C.S Lewis.
Willowfield Parish Community Association, with essential support from Apex, took a large group of east Belfast children to Murlough House for a residential experience for them to journey through Narnia.
Willowfield’s vision was to take children from the place where C.S Lewis was born; a place of known social and economic deprivation, to the place that inspired him to write one of the most famous children’s book series of all time.
C.S Lewis stayed in Murlough House and the views of the Mournes, the rolling forests, Murlough Beach and beautiful surroundings were the inspiration for Narnia.
Willowfield wanted to make sure each child had the opportunity to develop new skills, learn what it means to be brave, find their own place in Narnia and realise that they have the opportunity to make wonderful, positive choices that can impact not only themselves but their local community.
The residential included a series of talks and activities based around our three key themes from Narnia – Fearless, Friendship and Freedom – which gave kids the chance to engage with the story, build community with each other and work as teams to complete challenges. There were also movie nights, an epic talent show, sporting challenges, a treasure hunt, adventures through the forest, beach games on the sand dunes and absolutely the most fun time ever!
A representative from Willowfield commented, “The highlight for a lot of the children was the walk from Murlough House to Newcastle across a four mile stretch of beautiful beach with the Mournes as an impressive finish line. We were able to really connect, have deep conversations, have a group sing-along, and really just enjoy the beauty of this part of the world. (Plus, the ice cream and amusements at the end didn’t hurt!)
For a lot of the children, this residential was a fairy story brought to life as we transformed a conference space into Narnia. The opportunities for friendships to grow, shared experiences, stepping out of comfort zones and finding positive role models were invaluable. The feedback from the children and their parents has been phenomenal. Most are asking if we can go again next week!
As an organisation, WPCA are immensely grateful for the support from Apex as this is something we have always dreamed of running and the reality is that we simply couldn’t do so without the support. Our commitment to empowering children in this local area with new skills, challenges and opportunities to build community rely on the positive connections we can build through shared space and experiences.”