We hope these will answer your questions, if not please get in contact.
What is Lighthouse?
Lighthouse Thame & Villages is a holiday week for children and young people in Thame and the surrounding area that takes place in the summer holidays at Thame Showground.
It is run through a partnership of local churches and supported by hundreds of experienced volunteers.
Lighthouse provides an opportunity for children and young people to learn more about God’s amazing love for us all and understand what a difference Jesus can make to our lives. We have a lot of fun in a safe and enjoyable environment.
What goes on at Lighthouse?
Get your children involved in a fantastic week of fun! Every day the children start off in the Big Top with some great music, drama and games followed by sports, craft, creative activities, as well as age-appropriate Bible teaching. The children spend a lot of their day in small groups (of about 12-15 children) called Lighthouses.
In the final Big Top session is also the ever-popular gunge tank, where the children vote for their favourite leader to be gunged. Parents are welcome to come and watch the last session from around 3pm.
Who is in charge of the children?
Lighthouse is staffed by volunteers, mainly from local churches. Each small group of children called a Lighthouse has a Lighthouse Keeper (responsible leader) and one or more Lamplighters (teenage helpers).
Specialist teams help with craft, sport, creative and games. We take up references for all our helpers and all adult helpers (16+) details are submitted for DBS checks.
If I have made a mistake in my child’s registration or need to update it should I register them again?
No. This might mean that your child automatically moves onto a waiting list as the date and time of the registration are used for this purpose. Instead if you need to update or correct it in any way please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update your original registration with the new details.
Do you take children with additional needs at Lighthouse?
Yes. However we are all volunteers and we cannot, therefore, guarantee the specific SEN experience required to support some children. For more information please see our separate page on "Additional Needs children" or contact us.
Can my child come for part of the week?
We take children for any number of days within the week. As part of the registration you will be asked which days you would like to book a place for. However, we do encourage children to come for the whole week as they get far more out of it this way and develop deeper friendships
How does the waiting list work?
Each year we have an increase in the number of children that sign up for Lighthouse. We are not always able to accommodate everyone, because we are limited by the number of helpers we have available and the number of children that are safe on site. We will never compromise on safety.
Therefore we will introduce a waiting list when we feel that we need to wait to ensure that we have enough helpers. Each child is then accepted on the basis of the following:
- 1) children of helpers are given a place.
- 2) Other children are taken on the basis of the date (and time) they signed up. In other words children are taken in strict rotation.
Will my children be with their friends?
We do our best to ensure that each child is placed with up to two friends that they have nominated, provided they are in the same year group. We are unable to place a child with a friend who is in a different year group (4s & 5s are in the Mini Top in separate groups, 8s and 9s are one year group, all others are separate).
Each year group follows its own programme developed with that child’s age in mind. Please ensure that you spell the friend's name correctly as the system is automated. It is incredibly difficult to change the allocation once it is complete. Please speak with us if you have any concerns.
Will I be able to remain with my child until they settle in?
Unfortunately not. All our helpers provide two references and have to apply for a DBS check. Whilst we understand that our younger children need reassurance, our child protection policy prevents those who have not been checked from being on site. We understand that sometimes children need an extra year or so before they can be left by parents at Lighthouse. As an alternative you may like to attend the activities for Parent & Toddlers. This takes place at Thame Showground, Monday to Friday 9.45am-12.30pm. No booking required.
How much does it cost to attend Lighthouse?
There is no charge to attend Lighthouse, but we welcome donations. In 2017 our expenses were over £50,000 and we expect the level of expenditure to increase in 2019.
Lighthouse is funded entirely by donations and grants, therefore we do not charge for attendance but recommend a donation of £10 per child per day (£50 per week).
Once your child's application has been processed we will send you details of how to donate to Lighthouse. Please give if you are able to! If you would like to make a donation towards this year’s costs, before Lighthouse week, please send it directly to the Treasurer (Treasurer Lighthouse Thame & Villages, The Wychens, 70 Queens Road, Thame, OX9 3NQ). Cheques should be made payable to ‘Lighthouse Thame’ and donations can be gift aided.
Will I be able to use childcare vouchers for my child?
Unfortunately not. Lighthouse does not provide childcare. We provide a Christian holiday week for which a recommended donation can be made. (£10 per day)
What is your policy if my child becomes ill during Lighthouse week?
Lighthouse policy mirrors that of school policy; Please only send your child to Lighthouse if you feel they would be well enough to attend school that day. However, once the child is on site the final decision rests with the Lighthouse Medical Team.
Any other questions?