Hull Children's University is a registered charity in of course, Hull. They're an incredible team of amazing people who dedicate themselves completely to giving the children of Hull and the surrounding areas amazing learning experiences. From overnight stays at the Natural History Museum and day trips to the Space Centre in Keighley to overnight London sight-seeing trips where the children sleep over on the HMS Belfast, the charity provide meticulously organised learning, through experience, led by enthusiastic staff and mentors - recruited generally from Hull University where they offer a free elective module.
The 'Night At The Museum' module is a particularly brilliant and almost enchanting trip! They take part in various workshops, T-shirt designing, walking around (in the dark!) in the pre-historic section, looking for dinosaur fossils to piece together, then sleep over in the main hall under the giant Dipolopodus!
As I write, I'm sat on a Hull train on the way back to the school I've spent the weekend with and Natasha, the charity's director. I have been a mentor with Children's University since about 2010, dedicating as much time as I can to the children of Hull who wholeheartedly appreciate these amazing experiences! The trip I've just finished, was with Bridgeview Pupil Referral Unit to London. The mentors were lucky enough to stay in a hotel this time, while the children and teachers 'kipped on a ship' - HMS Belfast. My feet feel like they're broken and the staff have had about four hours sleep, but it was well worth it seeing the faces of the children whilst we watched Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the Royal Theatre Drury Lane.
Many of the children who go on the London trips have never been lucky enough to even leave the city of Hull and are amazed and overwhelmed by their surroundings. The charity also provide day trips to places like Age Concern where they do various learning activities and meet the famous Bee Lady of Hull. The local BBC studios are kind enough to open their doors to the charity, providing the 'BBC experience' where the children get the chance to sit behind the news desk in the studio where the local BBC news and weather are filmed. The kids make their own recording of the news, get the chance to be involved behind the scenes, lighting, sound, auto-cue, stage an interview from outside of the studio and much much more. This tends to be one of the top day trips in the opinion of those who matter - the children. This charity has been close to my heart the moment I started working with them and I appreciate the opportunity to meet these wonderful, deserving and inquisitive children and take part in their school trips.
As Hull is the City of Culture for 2017, local charities like the Children's University should be cherished and encouraged by local people, local authorities, schools and children alike. To find out if your school may be eligible for these trips, events and workshops, contact @ChildrensUni on Twitter or visit http://hullchildrensuniversity.com to find out more!