Youth movements lobbied for increase in residential camp numbers

Relief as government raises maximum to 30


Jewish youth movements lobbied for the increase in numbers allowed to attend residential camps from June 21, the JC has learned.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the rise from six to 30, thanking Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, who had raised the issue on behalf of Jewish youth movements.

Led by Habonim Dror and its national director Harrison Engler, they had been lobbying the government over the regulations for a number of weeks. 

There was concern that thousands of young people would miss out on the opportunity to attend camps over the summer as lockdown restrictions eased.

A letter sent by Habonim and supported by a number of other youth movements had implored the government to consider “the positive impact of residential activities on young people’s mental health and wellbeing”. 

The youth groups argued: “Children and young people benefit greatly from the independence, resilience-building and sense of community they learn at residential camps. For our community, they are crucial in building a sense of Jewish identity, allowing young people to engage proudly and deeply with British society as empowered, secure British Jews.”

Organisers offered the assurance that residential events would require Covid tests. “By testing participants, youth organisations can ensure their sites operate as self-contained ‘bubbles’. 

“Crucially, we can test participants again before they return home to their families and normal network of social interactions.”

Mr Engler was relieved the government had “listened” and hoped that in the next stage of the easing of restrictions, the limit of 30 would be abolished. 

“Come July 19, it is untenable to think that you might have festivals up and running but not allow our camps to operate above the rule of 30.   

“We are sure we can deliver things in a Covid secure way and after the year that young people have had, they should be the priority when it comes to easing of restrictions.”



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