Children's Holiday Venture, one of the University of Edinburgh’s oldest societies and charities, celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Children's Holiday Venture (CHV as it is better known) gives disadvantaged children from Edinburgh fun and freedom with groups of students taking children on activity nights, day trips and weekend camps. It runs 12 groups for a total of 120 children every fortnight.
Run by an ever changing group of student volunteers, it’s clear that keeping the operation going for the past 50 years has been no easy feat and definitely worth a celebration!
CHV started in 1963, when 7 driven Edinburgh students including Martyn Edelsten, the original founder and a 2nd year student at the Dick Vet, ran a holiday camp for refugee children living in the squalid post WW2 displaced persons camps in Germany.
Collaborating with international aid charities, and with the help of the British Army, the students ran a 3 week camp in the German Black Forest, giving 25 children a much needed change in diet and a fun escape from daily life. In 1965 CHV turned its attention to equally needy children in Edinburgh and this is the sole focus of the society today.
50 years on the Anniversary Ball saw over 150 past and present members, including several members from the 60s along with EUSA, ESCA and University staff, all celebrating the hard work that has had a positive impact on thousands of children both in Edinburgh and abroad and on the hundreds of student volunteers.
Now in its 50th year CHV is looking to build on its future and make the most of the fantastic support that has come following the ball. With ever increasing financial challenges, the charity has had to cut back on some activities over the past few years.
Huge expenditure goes on its two minibuses - the lifelines of the charity - which the students use to pick up the children and run all their activities. Both need replaced in the near future at an estimated cost of £30,000.
The ball alone raised over £2,300 on the night, and throughout the year other huge undertakings in fundraising are planned, including the students project of 50 challenges for 50 years! The University of Edinburgh Development Trust has supported CHV through Innovation Initiative Grants over the years assisting with funding for a minibus, computer and a training camp for new volunteers.
After the success of the ball and renewed links with ex-students and supporters, CHV hopes to build support over the coming years to help replace the minibuses and get the charity back up to speed.
CHV is still there with the same values and equally enthusiastic new students looking to do their part in the local community
In his speech at the 50th Ball, Martyn Edelsten reflected on the original aims of CHV and the personal and social needs of the children they worked with. He poignantly noted that despite changing times those needs exist today and CHV is still there with the same values and equally enthusiastic new students looking to do their part in the local community.
If you are interested in finding out more about CHV, its history and its upcoming projects please visit the CHV website.