The first time I came to Wey Island for the Work Day back in 2017. We were made to feel so welcome . It was a glorious sunny day in September and I brought four young people with me to help. We were very impressed with the grounds and the river and the surrounding area and after we finished our jobs, we canoed on the lovely river and played football in the grounds, then sat around the BBQ and campfire in the evening, chatting and eating burgers.

Since that day, I’ve been back to the Island numerous times, with lots and lots of young people, either to stay for a few days or for day trips. Every time, we have a great experience and never want to leave. We have swum in the river-even in the cold, and canoed and played volleyball, badminton, football, pool, table tennis, gymnastics and skipping. Then of course the cycles rides for miles along the River Wey and Thames, going on long walks around the area and having BBQ’s. We also made a campfire every time and sat around speaking about life and things we’ve never spoken about before or never had the opportunity to speak about. It’s great to have a place to sit outside – some is covered, so we’ve even had a BBQ there one night when there was a massive storm and thunder and lightning and it was very exciting but still dry!

The sleeping facilities are basic but fine and it’s just lovely to wake up to silence or a donkey or a cow!

To have the bikes and canoes on site is amazing and allows us such freedom and flexibility and really suits our young people, who are 13-19 year old young people from a refugee background as they don’t want things to be too structured.

We would happily go every weekend if that was a possibility and would stay there for weeks in the summer if we could! It’s a magical place and it leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for what’s next….even during the pandemic, we took groups of young people to the Island for day trips and it was so good for their mental health and general well-being. It’s easy to get there from London but you feel like you’re in a different world!

We will be back again next year!