“They all looked so happy” – Teenviners camp out to celebrate year-end with us

What a fabulous time we had last week at our Teenvine Summer Festival 2023! Fun, connection, exercise and self-expression in the sunshine.

A Grapevine team effort brought 17 young people from our Teenvine Plus and Next Steps programmes together for what may (probably will) be an annual camp out and epic send off as they ready themselves for what’s next in their lives.

Three people, two young white boys and one young black woman, sit on bean bags inside an inflatable tent in a field. They are smiling in the sunshine.

We think the photos say it all but we’ll guide you through anyway.

Teenvine Plus is an intensive development programme for young people aged 13-18 with special educational needs and disabilities in Coventry.

We help learning disabled youngsters get the friendships, confidence and skills they need in order to mature into independent young adults able to achieve their ambitions.

Several young people sit inside a gaming bus holding games controllers and concentrating hard!

Our annual end-of-summer, one night only, camping festival is the culmination of their year on the programme.

For many teenagers, their first outing overnight without their parents. For most, a space to smash even more milestones!

A young white girl in a checked shirt with glasses smiles as she lies on the top bunk of bunk beds inside a wooden cabin.

“Food, a gaming bus, bungee run, campfires, games and giggles at Rough Close. It was a joy to have time with them as they come to the end of their Teenvine journey with us.” (Director of Projects at Grapevine, Naomi Madden)

Four women and one child (a boy with his face painted) sit on camping chairs in a circle outside a tent in a field. They are smiling and discussing Grapevine's advocacy project in Coventry.

Grapevine’s Lynn and Katie shared more about our Coventry Advocacy project with parents whose young people are about to transition into adult life. This formed part of a special tent (new for 2023) to help grow connections and a support system between parents as their children graduate the programme.

A young white boy with short auburn hair and glasses is having a great time beating an older white man wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap as they complete a bungee race to get the bean bag the furthest up the track.

“He melted my heart this morning. He gave me the biggest hug and fist bump and said he’d had a good time.” (Quote from a parent)

A young disabled white man wearing a baseball cap and ear defenders sketches out the word Rights in yellow felt tip on a cardboard placard on a table.

Coventry Youth Activists (CYA) talked to the young people about disabled rights, a life that grows and how to get involved with their activism.

Six people, male and female, sit around a campfire under a wooden gazebo at night toasting marshmallows together.

Andy from the Scouts showed everyone how to cook outdoors, rustling up a bean casserole, fresh bread, chocolate bananas and of course, toasted marshmallows!

A man, a boy and a woman wave and smile as they decorate a cardboard house in a field with paint.

“They all looked so happy (and tired) this morning – it will be a lasting memory.” (Quote from a parent)

Two young white girls wearing glasses and summer vests pose for a photo outside the cabin. One has her face painted in pretty pastel colours. They both have long blonde hair tied back.

Thank you to the following people and organisations who helped make the event possible:

  • Precious Events UK for the face painter, plastic dome and bungee run
  • Gaming 2 U and their amazing gaming bus
  • Art Riot Collective
  • CYA
  • Grapevine Advocacy
  • Andy from Coventry Scouts
  • Spencer Street Kitchen for delicious pizza.

And to Zarah Sultana MP who called in to visit us!

Close up a pepperoni pizza inside a pizza box with young people out of focus in the background.

As September approaches, we get ready to say goodbye to 30 stronger, more resilient and confident young people following 12 months with Teenvine.

And we welcome 30 brand new Teenviners starting their journey with us!

Learn more about our #StrengtheningPeople work in Coventry and Warwickshire here – including how to contact Teenvine Plus and opportunities for other young people to join the programme as ‘buddies’, helping teenagers build a connected life and make some amazing memories.

Watch a short video about Teenvine Plus here.

Here’s to next year!