Birmingham PHAB Camps celebrated their 50th anniversary earlier this year. Inspired by the impact the charity had on myself as well as many others, I looked back into the years of Birmingham PHAB camps leading up to their 50th birthday to see how the charity grew.
PHAB TIMELINE – 1965 – 2017
1965 – Hidden Valley Camp
Simon Wadsworth was a university student and attends ‘Fresh Air Fund Hidden Vally Camp’ in New York. Through attending this camp, Simon had the inspiration to create a similar camp back in the UK with the aim to encourage integration between Disabled and non disabled children and young people and thus ‘Birmingham PHAB Camps’ began.
1966 – Planning For PHAB in the UK
Simon, the founder of ‘Birmingham PHAB Camps, met Jane Markham who was a member of the Birmingham Young Volunteers Volunteers Trust.
Together they start thinking of ideas for such a camp. Then joined by Dr Isabelle Cant and Dr Pasi, they put an official plan together that enable 40 disabled and non – disabled children to go on holiday together.
1967 – The First PHAB Camp
The first PHAB Camp was held this year at the Lord Mayor Treloar College. This camp took two years to plan and an expanded team including Mr. I Mitchell who was the head of Wilson Stuart School at the time.
As the ever expanding team created the camp, they developed key intentions, which still remain to this day.
One of these intentions was to encourage disabled and able bodied children to join as one to participate in activities on the camp.
Another was to make sure the experience for all the children on the camp, though away from home gain a degree of independence and self assurance on the camps.
The camp itself was aimed and designed for those who are less severely disabled, who when with other children they can join in and be able to experience the impact that the camp was trying to achieve.
These were the aims for the first camp, the plain was to see how successful the camp was in accomplishing these aims, how best to improve the camp so it can be achieved if not already, this would then lead into further planning of different camps.
The camp was carefully designed and planned to the very last detail. The camp was a success and they hoped this would be the first camp of many. This camp was only the begging.
1968 – Two PHAB Camps
The charity grows and a second camp is introduced. Together, Jane Markham and Mary Robinson develop PHAB England and with Simon Wadsworth they continue to build Birmingham PHAB Camps.
1969 – Diary of a Volunteer
Tony Gray, a member of the Birmingham PHAB Camps team co – leads a camp for the first time writes a ‘Diary of a Volunteer’, inspiring others to get involved.
1970 – Lady Mayoress is Appointed as Chairperson of Birmingham PHAB Camps Committee
The former Lady Mayoress of Birmingham, Mrs C.V.G Simpson becomes the chairperson of the main committee.
1972 – First Sponsored Wheel and Walk
Birmingham PHAB Camps holds their first sponsored wheel and walk around Cannon Hill Park, which has become an annual event to raise money for the charity.
1973 – Birmingham PHAB Camps Become a Registered Charity
Birmingham PHAB Camps become an official registered charity with the Charity Commission.
They also carried out surveys of all Youth Clubs in the Birmingham area, hoping to help develop the camps.
1975 – Weekend Camps
Birmingham PHAB Camps introduce a series of weekend long camps which were held between 1975 – 1976.
1977 – The Circle Starts
Shiela Hark is referred by Social Services to go on Centre Camp, she later becomes a volunteer on Senior camp and in 1987 she becomes a leader and runs Centre camp.
This introduces a full circle, in which those who have participated on any of the camps hosted by PHAB, volunteer or lead camps when old enough as they want to give something back to the charity that helped them, making sure children/young people are able to have the same type of experience as what they did.
1978 – The Current Treasurer Joins The Charity
Tony Rate volunteers on one of the camps, meets the women who is now his wife and also became the charity’s treasurer and remains so to this day.
1981 – First Camp for Children with Profound Disabilities is Introduced
Camps are designed and introduced for those children who suffer from profound physical and cognitive disabilities, the camps are tailored towards their needs so these camps are more beneficial to them as opposed to the core camps that the charity run.
1986 – The Charity’s Chairperson Joins and Remains in this Position to this Day
Maxine Ross-Wallis volunteers as a nurse on Venture camp. Maxine is inspired by the charity and the charity has had an positive impact on her, she became the chairperson of the charity and still is now.
1998 – Birmingham PHAB Camps Celebrates their 21st Birthday
When the charity celebrates their 21st birthday Adult Breakaway, led by Tony Gray visits America, where they visit the Hidden Vallay Camp in New York, where Simon Wadsworth had the first inspiration to create Birmingham PHAB Camps in 1967.
1997 – Tony Gray Retires
Tony Gray, who volunteered on the first PHAB camp in 1967 and was Birmingham PHAB Camps’ longest serving committee member retires from the charity.
1999 – Birmingham PHAB Camps Launches their Website & Brand New Logo
The charity launch their first website and designs it and it goes live. A brand new logo which was designed by a brother of one of the camp leaders.
The design of the logo is bold and outlines a lineup of children holding hands and this signifies the sprit of the charity. The website has now got regular updates about the happenings of the charity as well as details of upcoming events and ways to get involved and donate.
2002 – The Charity’s First Camps at the Wingate Centre, Cheshire
The charity found the Wingate Centre in Cheshire, a centre which facilitates for different groups of people including those with disabilities. They arranged camps to be held at their centre and have every year since 2002.
2006 – Venture Camp visits Bendrigg Lodge
Venture Camp visits and runs their camp at Bendrigg Lodge, which is also an activity centre in the Lake District which facilitates for those with disabilities and they return in 2008 and again 2012. The camp have continued to visit here every summer since.
2009 – First Pace Camp
The charity develop and run the first specialist camp, tailored to those children with profound autism.
2010 – Lord Mayor’s Charity of the Year
Thanks to The Lord Mayor, Councilor, Len Gregory, Birmingham PHAB Camps became the Lord Mayor’s charity of the year.
2012 – Design of the Charity’s New Logo
A selected group of participants from the different camps, Junior, Senior and Venture camps of Birmingham PHAB Camps were recruited and came together at the Custard Factory to design a new logo for the charity under its name.
2012 – Eight Camps This Year
The charity develop, and run eight camps in this year, helping and benefiting up to 120 young people and their families in the Birmingham area.
2015 – Archives Uncovered
The charity discover a collection of archives dating back to the start of the charity.
2016 – Meeting Simon Wadsworth, the Founder of the Charity
Simon Wadsworh, the founder of Birmingham PHAB Camps and who now lives in Memphis, Tennessee, met with Maxine Ross-Wallis, the chairperson of the charity and Andrew Miles, a volunteer with the charity and they spoke about the inception of Birmingham PHAB Camps.
2016-Meeting with Elizabeth McCann
One of the children who participated on the first PHAB Camp, Elizabeth McCann met with Maxine Ross-Wallis and Andrew Miles and described some of her memories of the camp and the charity have used this in moving forward in future camps.
2017- Birmingham PHAB Camps Celebrate their 50th Birthday
This year Birmingham PHAB Camps celebrated their 50th anniversary party in style.