Kielder Waterside | September 2018

What an amazing venue to host a JIA-at-NRAS family weekend. Kielder Waterside sits in the middle of Kielder Water and Forest Park and Kielder was once voted the most remote village in England!

JIA-at-NRAS hold events like this:

  • To enable children and young people living with JIA, and their families, to meet others who are experiencing the same demands and issues
  • To enable parents to talk informally in a social setting to a healthcare professional
  • To enable children and parents to take part in fun activities
  • To enable children – those living with JIA and their siblings – to take part in fun activities without their parents
  • To provide insight into the treatment and management of JIA and give the children confidence that, despite the disease, they can achieve anything they desire

We were joined by 8 families on Friday 28th September; we thought we had travelled the furthest but one family drove up from Sherborne in Dorset!

Friday was a rush, checking in, having dinner and greeting everyone meant that NRAS staff, Jo, Emma and I were in bed fairly early! On Saturday though, we all bounced out of our lovely beds feeling bright and looking forward to the day. Breakfast was bacon and sausage sandwiches, tea and coffee and cereal. We all ate together and nattered about the spectacular scenery, the lodges and how much we were looking forward to the activities.

Following an invigorating nature trail walk, which everyone took part in, Jo and I were in charge of crazy golf and took a group of little ones off to improve our techniques! The older children with JIA and their siblings took part in an archery competition, I heard it got quite competitive with everyone trying to win the 'red squirrel nutkin squishy toy'.

After lunch we moved to an indoor play area where we played indoor football games and made model animals out of soft clay, this was a great opportunity for the whole family to get involved in activities with each other and talk about their situations.

We booked the swimming pool for a couple of hours later in the afternoon and everyone enjoyed a swim before dinner.

As you can imagine, by dinner we were all feeling the effects of the wonderful Northumberland country air and all the games, but we rallied, and everyone enjoyed and took part in a family quiz. We all met one final time on Sunday morning and whilst Jo, Emma and I had to get back, some of the families stayed on and enjoyed Kielder for another day.

It was a lovely weekend and our guests were all so kind and warm with each other. I really hope we get the opportunity to host an event like this in 2019.

View photos here!