In October, Croxteth Gems took a group of their young people to Krakow, Poland. Jean Hannah, co-ordinator at the Gems, told Alt Valley Voice about the trip.
‘A group of twenty-one staff and young people took part in a trip to Krakow for four days. The funding for the trip was raised through a sponsored walk up Scafell Pike last year.
‘Parents, ward councillors and staff at Croxteth Gems took part in order for the young people to realise their dreams. The money raised covered all the costs of flights, accommodation, and food for the entire trip.
‘It also paid for a trip to the Auschwitz and Birkenau museums, where children learned the history of the Holocaust and reflected on right wing ideology and how it affects people today. They had a chance to see the full horror of mass genocide carried out by the Nazis, and be reminded of mass genocide that is happening now. It had a huge impact on the young people who took part, and helped them relate this to modern day times.
‘The young people also visited Oskar Schindler’s factory, and looked at the history of the Holocaust from start to finish. There was massive learning with great outcomes, and hearing young people’s views on who they believed to be modern day ‘Hitlers’ left staff in no doubt that they understood what right wing ideology was all about.
‘There was also an enjoyment factor to the trip. Young people experienced a horse and carriage trip, a tram ride, a ride in a buggy and a river cruise around the city. They took advantage of the value for money and bought lots of souvenirs to bring home.
‘We enjoyed eating nice meals in wonderful restaurants and all sitting together reflecting on each day was just great. We visited Pope John Paul II’s home and where he trained as a young Cardinal. We visited the fantastic Wawel Castle and took in some great parks on route to all these places.
‘For some, it was also their first experience of flying, which made it even more special.
‘Twenty-one staff and young people even managed to live together for four days without any major incidents – lots of minor ones though!
‘We cannot thank all those who made it possible to give our young people an opportunity to learn about the history of the Nazi occupation of Poland, and the horrors of the massacre that took place. Their experience is one that will live with them for a long time.
‘Thank you once again.’
Croxteth Gems are currently holding their ‘12 Days of Christmas’ campaign. Every year, the Gems target one hundred families, and help them to celebrate Christmas without the financial burden that many feel at this time of year. With the roll out of Universal Credit this year, many families will be without money while waiting for their benefits to be assessed, meaning they cannot afford a Christmas at all. They are looking for donations of money, toys, Christmas pyjamas, selection boxes, Christmas trees and decorations. If you can help in any way, please drop off any donations at the Gems Centre, Armill Road, L11 4TR. There are other drop-off points listed in the What’s On section on p.15. Together we can make a difference.