Three days of jam-packed fun at annual camping trip for children with autism

Jam and cream teas kick off this year’s annual CAOTfest, a Somerset County Council organised camping trip for children with autism and their families.

The fun filled three-day camping trip this week, arranged by the Children’s Autism Outreach Team (CAOT), is a chance for children with autism and their families to have a fun and safe holiday together.

Rector Jess Pitman from The Angel, a charity in Langport that supports CAOT and organises a coffee morning for families of children with autism, joined the event. Together with the County Council’s very own Sparky he officially opened the event.

During the week the children enjoy lots of activities including pottery, circus skills, face painting, willow crafts and a talent contest.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “CAOTfest is a fantastic opportunity for children and their families to relax and have fun together.

“We are always striving to provide the best we can for children and young people within the limits of our resources and this event is an example of where we really get things right.

“All of the activities are designed to suit the children’s needs and offer them a stimulating and fun holiday. Plus the parents can relax knowing that trained staff are on hand.”

Barbara Mills, Senior Autism Outreach Worker, said: “The children love CAOTfest and enjoy socialising with other children with autism. It is great for the parents and carers too – they can relax in the knowledge that their children’s needs are understood and supported and they get to meet other parents and talk about autism.”

Debbie Munn and her three children have been coming to CAOTfest for five years.

“There are activities for children of all ages,” she said. “They can play together and socialise and we have the support of staff as well so we’re well-supported, day and night, if anything goes wrong.”

Parent Geoff Basson said: “We look forward to it every year. It’s just wonderful, the kids can run free and be happy and be themselves.

“Parents can relax and not worry about what other parents might be thinking about your child.”

Mum Trisha added: “I can relax and feel that my children are safe – everyone looks after each other.

“You get to meet people going through the same thing and it’s an opportunity to feel like you’re on holiday, not far from home, with people on hand if anything goes wrong.”