Allergy Policy

How we handle allergies

When you register for one of our events, we ask for a variety of information to look after your child, including any dietary issues and any medical information.  This includes allergies.

At both our day and residential venues we take all medical information very seriously, including allergies.  We have a paediatric-trained first-aider on site at all times and their training includes EpiPen training.

At our residential venue where catering is provided, all dietary and allergy information is passed on to the catering team who are very experienced in dealing with all common (and many not-so-common requirements).  We provide them with detailed lists of what is needed for the campers and also brief the children about how the kitchens work and how to ask the servers about the dishes.  The servers and chefs can always provide information about the contents of all meals, and the menu at the counter is also labelled with information to address the dietary and medical needs of each week's campers.

At our day venues campers bring their own lunch and snacks.  We don't operate a policy of requesting parents to avoid bringing particular foods to camp, and this includes nuts.  We realise that this may be different from the policy that your child's school operates, but there are many very good reasons that we do not operate a nut-free policy.

The primary reason is that the most recent advice from the Department for Education, the professional medical community and expert organisations like Allergy UK and Anaphylaxis UK is this is counterproductive and is not recommended.  Here are just some of the reasons:

  • There are 14 allergens that must be legally labelled on foods, most of which can cause anaphylactic reactions in affected individuals.  It is not possible, let alone desirable to remove all these 14 allergens from all foods to ensure everyone is safe.
  • It is not possible to guarantee and enforce a nut free zone, as staff cannot monitor all lunches and snacks brought in from home. A free from environment creates a false sense of security and does not safely prepare children for environments where nuts may be present.
  • The scientific evidence actually shows that nut-free schools do not reduce the risk of anaphylactic reactions vs non nut-free schools, that other individuals eating nuts around children with severe nut allergies does not cause anaphylactic reactions, and that the most effective method of preventing reactions is training children not to share food and to wash hands before eating.  Additionally, the concept that children can have anaphylactic reactions from inhaling the scent of nuts is a myth.

So what is the answer?

It's simple, as a parent of a child with a severe allergy, you should:

  • Teach your child not to share food with others
  • Teach them to wash their hands before eating

In return, we remind all children of the importance of these two things and train our staff how to handle allergies.  This is what is most likely to keep your children safe now, and in the future and it is based on science, not following what 'looks good' or what most other organisations might do.