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Outings and Overnight Events

For all events when children and young people are taken off the church premises:

  • A specific Risk Assessment should be carried out, including an assessment of the appropriate ratio of adults to children.

  • Parents should be informed in writing of the arrangements.

  • The children and young people should be divided into groups, each with a responsible adult, even if the whole group is to remain together. Each adult should be given a written list of those children or young people for whom they have responsibility.

  • If travelling in several small groups, it is good practice to insist that the same group of children or young people travel with the same adult on both the outgoing and return journeys. This minimizes the possibility of children or young people going astray because of false assumptions that someone else has taken them.

Overnight events

For overnight events particular care needs to be taken, not least when it comes to making arrangements for sleeping accommodation. It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules to cover all situations. However, sensible precautions will minimize the risks for children or young people and workers.

All of the above bullet-points should apply. In addition the following best practice should be followed:

Risk assessment

  • Particular note should be taken regarding the proposed venue and its suitability for providing sufficient rooms for children and adults to sleep together with arrangements for toilets and washing etc.

  • Are there sufficient fire exits from the sleeping accommodation in the event of a fire?

  • Are all of the workers conversant with the procedures in the event of a fire?

  • Ascertain prior to the event the local telephone numbers and other information that would be needed in the event of an emergency (caretaker or other contact for property if not on site, local doctor, the location of the nearest Accident and Emergency Hospital etc).

Parental consent

  • Separate parental consent should be obtained for each event where the child or young person will be cared for overnight.
  • A contact phone number overnight for the parent/carer should be obtained for the particular night(s) of the event.

  • Parents/carers should be given the address of the overnight venue together with a contact phone number for making contact in the event of an emergency. If giving a mobile phone number as the main point of contact please ensure beforehand that the signal strength at the venue is sufficient to make and receive calls.

  • Ensure that parents/carers have returned a health form stating any special dietary requirements and current medication, and also giving the name and telephone number of the child’s doctor and consent for emergency medical treatment.

  • Consideration should be given to having a meeting with parents/carers prior to the event

Sleeping arrangements

  • Males and females should sleep separately

  • If it is a mixed group of both boys and girls, there must be a mix of male and female adult workers

  • Come to a measured judgement based on the circumstances of the group you are taking away as to whether it is wise for adults to share sleeping accommodation with children or young people. This will depend on the ages of the children, their need of support, the likelihood of older children bullying younger children, and the nature of the venue. If adults share sleeping accommodation with children and young people, children and young people should always be able to dress and undress separately from adults. An adult should never sleep alone in a room with children or young people.

Checklist for Residential Activities

The following checklist will help to identify a number of important issues that should be considered for the safety and well-being of the children and young people when planning residential events:

  • At least one of the workers/leaders should be responsible for First Aid and should hold an appropriate, valid certificate

  • The person responsible for catering should hold a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate

  • Check the insurance cover of any building in which you will be sleeping. There may be a limit on numbers it accommodates. If you exceed these, insurance can be invalid.

  • Check the building and know where water, electricity and gas can be turned off.

  • Fire safety

    • Know the fire drill for the building, and make sure you have a fire drill as soon as possible after entering the premises.

    • Know where the fire extinguishers are.

    • A Location Specific Plan should be displayed alongside the Fire Notice in each room.

    • Church halls and rooms used for sleeping larger numbers of people must have two means of exit.

  • Know where the nearest hospital and doctor are. It is good practice to make contact with a local doctor prior to the event.

  • It is a good idea to notify the local police. This applies if you are sleeping in any building, even if only for one night, and even if it is your own church. Also it is helpful to inform the fire brigade.

  • Ensure that parents/carers have returned a health form stating any special dietary requirements and current medication, giving the name and telephone number of the child’s doctor and consenting to emergency medical treatment.

  • Residential activities must have safety rules

    • letting adults know where you are

    • not entering the kitchen without asking the cook, etc.

  • Make sure the children have correct clothing for whatever activity they are taking part in. It is useful to issue a ‘kit list’ for residential activities.

  • Where outdoor activities are concerned, either leaders should have the appropriate qualification, or if the activity is being provided by an outside organisation, then you should check that this organisation is registered with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority and has appropriate insurance. Current guidelines suggest that for any camping or hill walking activity, the basic qualification which should be held is the Basic Expedition Leader Award (BELA) or an equivalent, for example a scout or guiding qualification.

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