Our History

Camp Project Wales History

The first camp took place in the summer of 78, when Reverent Terry Oakley approached people in Runcorn with an initiative to help ease tensions in the town.
Before the construction of the Runcorn Bridge in 1961, Runcorn had a modest population of around 24,000 people, mostly located in the west of the town. East Runcorn was predominantly just vast open fields with just two small villages of Halton and Norton.

In 1964 the whole of east Runcorn was designated as a ‘New Town’ area as part of the Liverpool Masterplan, aimed at reducing the overcrowding in Liverpool’s inner city areas. A huge housing masterplan saw new homes built for over forty thousand people from the city. By 1980, the total population of Runcorn stood at nearly 66,000, an increase in its population of more than 153% in only 19 years. Runcorn also experienced a huge shift in its demographic during this time too, with many of the ‘New Town’ residents being young families.

Under the same banner of Runcorn exists two communities, both geographically and culturally seperated. Unlike other towns that expand from within their population, Runcorn and similar new towns like Skelmesdale are different, as a new community is created from another area.

cwp-image-3bSubsequent years saw many altercations between both sets of communities. In an attempt to help resolve the situation, Reverent Terry Oakley of the United Reform Church invited children from the town to take part in a summer camp at Cynwyd. Half of the children were selected from schools in the old town area (West Runcorn) and half from the new town area (East Runcorn). The object being to bring about some harmony to the town.

Held in August 1978, the inaugural Camp Project Wales was a huge success. Current volunteers John Bacon and Pip Brown were amongst the fifty school children selected in the first year. All of them collaborated in a series of events and activities which helped to alleviate any prior tensions between the two communities.

Following the Toxteth riots in 1981, the church concentrated on inviting children from Liverpool 8 to their camp. So that ‘Camp Project Wales – Runcorn’ could also continue that year, volunteer Ken Foster negotiated borrowing the camping equipment off the church. As the years went by, the Runcorn camp gradually acquired its own equipment.

The camp has a long history of support from the Local Community, Businesses, Members of Round Table, Youth Groups such as Scouts, Duke of Ed, Local Schools and Halton Borough Council. The camp has evolved over the years and will continue to evolve in order to provide a positive experience for children in need.