The HQR supported the charity CHAOS this year. CHAOS (Childrens Holidays and Other Specialities) was established in 1976 and is small, registered charity ran solely by volunteers and based in East London, (Registered Charity No: 281609). CHAOS provide free summer holiday camps to children who are referred from their school, and who would not otherwise be recieving a holiday that year. Jack Smerdon of Smith and Brown Joinery supports and volunteers for the CHAOS charity and has written the below following a summer camp with the children and the team.

I’ve been back from CHAOS for a few days now and almost fully recovered but can’t quite shake the CHAOS blues we always get the week after camp. It is such a shock going from 30 screaming kids to a workshop full of adults (who only occasionally scream).

The money raised at the HQR ball this year went on updating our camping equipment: we purchased a significantly larger and better kitchen tent (our old tent got a bit moldy last year and was not overly waterproof which didn’t make for a very nice cooking environment). As well as this, we bought new gas rings and a hot plate for cooking, a hot water urn (which was a revelation), new metal tables, new gaz lanterns, a pair of gazebos (which were so important, our kids would have melted without), as well as some new and much improved sporting equipment and the t-shirts and hats you see our kids wearing, we haven’t been able to update our t-shirts in 3 years and have never been able to give them hats (it made them so easy to spot on our outings).

With some of the remaining money, we plan on buying some new sleeping tents. Our current ones are not really fit for purpose anymore, they are a bit flimsy and not very warm (but were a donation from another charity a few years ago when CHAOS had no money so couldn’t turn them down). We are looking at buying some of our old style ‘Suncamp Villa’ tents future camps, which should make camping in general a much more pleasant experience for all.

Personally, I feel that one of the best things about the donation is the fact that all campers are already talking about next year and what we can do, and I believe this is down to everyone knowing that for the first time, in a very LONG time, we are not starting our fundraising campaign in the red, so hopefully we shall be able to keep the CHAOS love alive throughout the year (the new equipment is obviously also a blessing).