News from the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT)

Twenty-five years ago local landmark Alton Castle ran its inaugural residential programme when St Giles, Cheadle, were the very first to visit for a school trip back in September 1996.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of young people from across the Archdiocese and further afield have benefitted from the Castle’s unique blend of personal development and faith-based programmes with challenging outdoor adventurous activities.

After missing two summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spectacular setting of Alton Castle will once again become the magnificent backdrop for one of the longest-established fundraising events in the historic Staffordshire village of Alton: the annual Parish Garden Party and Castle Open Day.

All proceeds from this annual family event go towards St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church and to Alton Castle, the Youth Retreat Centre that provides life-changing experiences for young people, especially those from deprived backgrounds.

The entertainment runs from 12.30-4.30pm on Saturday 18 September, and includes exclusive roof top and Castle tours along with stalls, refreshments and a chance to try out the brand-new low ropes course alongside the longstanding favourites of archery and crate-stacking.

Entrance is just £2 on the gate, and extra roof top tours featuring exclusive access to rarely seen parts of the Castle plus bubbly and strawberries can be booked in advance 

All this plus great live music, a duck race, grand draw and a BBQ as well as afternoon teas means it promises to be a great day out for all the family! All generations can relax and enjoy each other’s company knowing that the Castle has been awarded the government’s 'Good to Go!' quality mark ensuring all COVID secure measures are in place.

There will be lots of other activities during the fun-filled afternoon, including crate stacking, archery, football activities and led cycle rides through the grounds of Alton Castle. The JCB digger experience is always very popular and a new attraction at this year’s Garden Party will be the newly installed low ropes challenge course. Tours of St John the Baptist Church will also be available.

Chairman of St John the Baptist R C Church Garden Party Committee, Edward Howard, said: “The Garden Party is an important long-standing annual event in Alton. There is something for everyone, including tours of Alton Castle, which is rarely open to the public. While the children enjoy the various action-packed activities and attractions, such as the new ropes course, their parents can be found supporting the parish by purchasing items at the various stalls or at our popular garage sale.”

Clare Ford, Alton Castle Programme Director, said: “The Garden Party is an such important fundraiser for our charity, but it’s also a great way of bringing the community together especially after such a challenging 18 months. We’re delighted to have an opportunity to share this important heritage with the local community as when schools are visiting us, we can’t usually open our doors in the same way. It’s a wonderful way to kick off our 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee Year and we look forward to continuing the celebrations with our Gala Dinner next month."

The Charity Gala takes place at Alton Castle on Saturday 16 October, 6pm. The black tie event starts with a champagne reception followed by dinner and dancing.

Proceeds from the evening will help support the work of KYT in reaching out to all young people.

Book tickets for Charity Gala

Alton Castle photograph courtesy of Tom Machin